Students at the University of Strathclyde are to receive lectures in the student’s union and the Renfrew Street Cineworld multiplex due to issues with space on the city centre campus.
Following the closure of the Jordanhill Campus, students studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) have been relocated to the newly renovated Lord Hope Building on the university’s John Anderson Campus. However, there is no teaching space large enough to accommodate all the 650+ students at once on the main campus, which lead the university to hire out one of the high-tech digital screens at the Cineworld cinema.
In addition, the university has paid for specialist lighting to be installed, ensuring students are not left in the dark.
The University of Strathclyde Students Association (USSA) Vice President of Education, Rebbecca Maxwell Stuart, explained the unusual decision to the Telegraph:
“The University has worked very closely with myself in particular to ensure that the students had the very best learning experience. Apart from the very few times that students will be at Cineworld, they will be taught at the main campus, with staff mainly based in the Lord Hope building. As Cineworld is only being used as a temporary measure, the University will be looking at other locations in the future.
Of course, many students that will be moving from Jordanhill will miss it, as the place had a great history in regards to education. However, now our students will be in the heart of the city centre where they will feel more of a part of the Strathclyde family as they will have access to better facilities including the Union.”
Rather than being disruptive to students, the VP Education assures that sending students to the cinema for their classes was a more suitable alternative:
“It was felt that instead of having the students split into several rooms, that they needed to be all in one teaching space to have the best student experience, as these very few lectures are very interactive.”
Stuart added: “However, I know that this will only be for this year, as it is not an economically viable option for the long term. However, given the circumstances Cineworld is the best option so that all the students are together and they are not split up.”
The closure of Jordanhill and relocation of its students to the main campus comes at a time when the university is already facing issues in terms of teaching space. In February this year, the James Weir Building on Montrose Street sustained significant structural damage due to a fire which ripped through the building having started in the Roche Lab of the Chemical Engineering Department. This lead to the closure of the building, and caused renovation plans, which are currently on-going, to be brought forward. A spokesperson for the university explained:
“We are investing £350 million in our campus over 10 years. This includes bringing all our staff and students onto our city centre campus this summer, where our Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences will benefit from a £38 million, dedicated quarter in the heart of the city.
A fire in one of our major buildings in February led to the temporary loss of some of our teaching spaces. We are using this short-term closure to accelerate our £28 million investment plan for the building’s teaching and research spaces, in addition to upgrading 105 teaching spaces across campus this summer alone.”
The James Weir Building is still being renovated, however a total of eight teaching rooms on the first and third floors are now accessible and will be used for classes from the beginning of the first semester. The renovation of the rest of the building is expected to be completed by early next year.
In addition, the construction of the £89 million Technology and Innovation Centre on George Street is underway and set to open in 2014.
Until then, as well as holding the occasional lecture at Cineworld, students are also to be taught in the Student’s Unionm itself in order to tackle the shortage in teaching space due to the increase in the number of students and staff on the main campus.
The Debates Chamber on Level 6 and the Vertigo venue on Level 8 are both to be utilised by the university, a move which the USSA hopes will encourage more students to utilise the services the association offers, such at the newly renovated Priory cafe on Level 6, following a disappointing year in terms of profit.}