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Monday, November 14, 2005

University for sale?

The South Wales Evening Post has followed up Saturday's story about the possibility of Swansea University moving to Llanelli with speculation that the students' village in Killay will be sold off for £25 million. They say that cash is urgently needed to fund the college's academic expansion plans and yet tehir previous story concentrated on the £32m cost of maintaining and replacing clapped-out 1960s buildings on the main campus. Somebody needs to make up their mind.

The strange thing about all of this press speculation is that it appears to have been fanned by the previously publicity-adverse management team without any reference whatsoever to the College's ruling Council. The consultant's report that mooted these radical changes has not been put before the College Council nor have we yet received a copy of it. Mushroom management is one thing but when the governors have to rely on the local press to find out what is going on then you wonder who really is in charge.
Let me explain why the University won’t move…and I’m very surprised the Evening Post and the BBC haven’t picked these points up!

The University is currently building an Institute of Life Sciences (construction work is going on as I type) – which is costing £50m, which will house one of the largest super computers in the world. The University are hardly going to build this, and then 6-7 years later, move away from it are they!

They are also building a Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture Research – costing approx £1.5m

They have also built new Student accommodation on campus, and have built the Digital Technium at a cost of some millions of pounds.

A new sports village has been built, including the Olympic pool – again, costing quite a few million.

The options I’ve seen for Hendrefoelan student village would be to lease/sell it to a housing association, such as Gwalia. They already run (and actually built) the new halls on campus – which would probably be quite a viable option, as a private company would have resources to upgrade/replace dilapidated accommodation.

So, after investing so heavily in the current campus and facilities, why on earth would they consider moving?

The consultants preferred option is one of the options to re-develop the current site (but they don’t mention that in the press/media). If Morriston and Singleton hospitals merge, then we’ll (presumably) expand into a vacated Singleton hospital’s grounds, which would provide ample space for expansion.
i live on campus at uws and, i have to agree they arn't moving anywhere.

too much investment has gone into the place in the form of new buildings as martyn said above.

i believe its a ploy to try and get swansea council to approve demolition of fulton house, which is grade 2 listed i belive so that they can build the iconic new enterence building and also they may ask for more land from singleton park to be released for its use.

as for the university being sold - it cant happen it doesn't own the land its built on, the land was gifted by some lord to the people of swansea and not to the uni.

its just posturing threatening to take the millions of pounds students pump into swansea out to try and push through their agenda.

just another illustration of the dictatorial style of our VC.

on the bright side it would be easy to get onto the property ladder in swansea if 10,000+ people moved out of the city.
I would very much endorse everything that Martyn says. It certainly reflects my thinking on this issue as well. These sort of threats however do not work on planning authorities.
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