The merger between Moray House Institute and Edinburgh University, due to be finalised early next month, will provide for the closure and sale of the Cramond campus of the institute and the relocation of its physical education and leisure departments in the city centre.
The proceeds of the sale will make the merger more attractive to the university, but both Gordon Kirk, Moray House principal, and Sir Stewart Sutherland, principal of the university, are anxious to stress the academic advantages which will unite the university's PE activities with those of the institute. Plans for a suitable site are being kept under wraps.
Professor Kirk was this week reluctant to discuss details of the changes in isolation from the complete merger plan which is still to be revealed to Moray House and university staff. But he said that aside from the academic advantages of integration, renovating the Cramond campus, which includes gymnasia and a swimming pool, would cost Pounds 2.5 million.
Meanwhile, the talks which have recently got under way in Glasgow to create "St Andrew's Institute" by integrating St Andrew's College with Glasgow University have run into difficulties over denominational education. University staff are concerned about the implications for their teaching and have raised questions over statements by the college such as "that staff will require to support the principles and values of denominational education for which the institute will have a statutory responsibility".
The Roman Catholic Church is keeping a close watch on the talks and Cardinal Thomas Winning is understood to be content with progress. John Oates, chairman of the board of St Andrew's College and former headteacher of St Modan's High School, Stirling, said that "there is recognition at the highest university levels of the college as the national Catholic college and therefore acceptance of its mission".
Mr Oates went on: "There is a lot of hard bargaining still to be done. " Bart McGettrick, principal of St Andrew's, said that "good progress" was being made in negotiations which are due to culminate by October.