Land sale may end 80-year tradition

10th December 2004 at 00:00
Jordanhill campus may be sold by Strathclyde University, ending a tradition of more than 80 years of teacher training.

The university's court and senate plan to consult on options including selling the Jordanhill grounds and transferring the education faculty to the city centre.

A report for the university by external consultants DTZ Pieda describes selling the Jordanhill site and constructing a new education faculty building at the John Anderson campus as "much the best value-for-money".

The main options are:

* do nothingthe minimum and retain the Jordanhill campus;

* vacate the outlying, smaller buildings, including the Scottish School of Sports Studies, Tom Bone and Smith buildings, convert the remaining buildings and release the vacant land;

* build a new education faculty on the present site with lower running costs and sell some land;

* new-build at John Anderson in the main university campus.

The consultants estimate that the land value of Jordanhill campus could be at least pound;22m, although any redevelopment or land release would have to be subject to the campus plan prepared by the university and adopted by Glasgow City Council.

Under that plan, the playing fieldsopen space in the east of the site are ruled out for development and the Category B-listed David Stow building must be retained for conversion.

Jordanhill College, established in 1922, merged with Strathclyde University 11 years ago and the education faculty is the main occupier of the campus in Glasgow's West End. However, other courses such as speech and language pathology, community arts, social work, sport and outdoor education also occupy the campus.

It is understood that arts and music specialists have argued that at Jordanhill they are not conveniently situated for the university's Ramshorn Theatre or Collins Gallery, while speech and language specialists favour being part of the science faculty.

Peter West, secretary of Strathclyde University, said: "The University Court has given its approval to investigate this option in further detail over the course of the academic year. That process will involve wide consultation with students, staff, Glasgow City Council, the Scottish Higher Education Funding Council, the local community and other major stakeholders.

"However, it must be stressed that no decisions have been made on our future estates strategy or the single-campus option. Our immediate aim is to explore the consultants' recommendations in greater depth."

University insiders have pointed out that, while the education faculty has had to expand its numbers to meet Scottish Executive commitments, it is unlikely that these numbers for teacher-training will be sustainable.

A new education faculty could be built opposite the Glasgow College of Building and Printing on North Hanover Street. This might well fit the vision of Jim Wallace, the Lifelong Learning Minister, for an "education precinct" around the Cathedral Street area, but might also fuel fears in the universities that boundaries between further and higher education are being diluted.

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