Hefty mayoral cash injection gives go-ahead to the university’s biggest expansion in 200 years
UCL has secured £100 million in government funding towards the building of the new UCL EAST campus on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The grant was revealed during a launch event unveiling the Mayor of London’s plans for the East Bank, a £1.1bn new cultural district to be built on the Park.
What is dubbed as the “first phase” of UCL EAST, which will see the construction of its first two buildings, Pool Street West and Marshgate I, is due to begin this summer. The two are expected to cost upwards of £426 million, financed by a blend of philanthropic donations, private sector money and UCL cash along with the government grants announced this week.
3,000 students and 625 staff will make the move eastwards from Bloomsbury when construction is completed in 2020. Student accommodation with a capacity of nearly 500 will stand in the new campus, with rent expected to be significantly lower than what UCL students are used to, due to its location.
Pool Street West will house the “Future Living Institute”, a centre for multi-disciplinary research which will include a “Centre for Robotics & Autonomous Systems”, “The Global Disability Innovation Hub” – which will focus on inventive design to aid the disabled – as well as a new foundation studio for Slade. Students can also expect the eccentric luxury of a cinema space.
As UCL Provost Michael Arthur said at the launch, “our new campus will bring together seven UCL faculties to generate radical and innovative research and teaching programmes. These will range from robotics, artificial intelligence and media, to innovative finance, global health leadership, advanced propulsion and sustainable cities.” A key impetus behind the campus is to revamp UCL’s long underperforming engineering research, providing the faculty with new much needed space.
As a UCLE representative told Pi Media, the university reportedly plans to invest in the surrounding Stratford area by “stimulating local employment, establishing apprenticeships, educational outreach programmes, cultural activities and events”. These are currently being developed and further information will be published by UCL as they evolve. Indeed, the project’s pamphlet promises “thousands of new jobs created both directly and indirectly, locally and across London”.
As part of the East Bank project as a whole, the ministry of housing, communities and local government said its £151m investment, of which UCL EAST is one part, would create 1,500 jobs, £1.5bn in economic benefits and 600 new homes. Sadiq Khan has also made a commitment that at least 50 per cent of new homes across the remaining development sites on the Park will be affordable.
As well as UCL EAST, The East Bank will contain two other brand new cultural sites, Stratford Waterfront, which will include a BBC venue as well as an arm of UAL’s London College of Fashion, and Here East, the V&A museum’s new Collection and Research Centre.
UCL EAST will eventually house activity for the following UCL faculties:
- Arts & Humanities,
- Social & Historical Sciences,
- The Bartlett,
- Life Sciences,
- Engineering Sciences,
- and Law.
(Featured image credit: UCL News)