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Cost of Science Teaching Hub increases to £38m

Coronavirus related delays have increased cost of the ‘flagship’ project by millions

By: Anttoni Numminen

Image courtesy of author.

The University’s Science Teaching Hub project is millions of pounds over the original budget of £35m, owing to COVID-19 related delays, according to the University.

Originally set to open in Spring 2021, the completion of the building, which is supposed to 'transform' the science learning experience at UoA, has been postponed by six months but will open in January 2022 ‘if all goes to plan’.

The flagship project, which was originally announced as costing £35m, has now been said to cost £38m according to the University’s website.

The pandemic prevented construction from continuing for months, after which major health and safety changes were required to allow on-site work to restart.

A University spokesperson told The Gaudie that the project was paused in March 2020 in line with the national lockdown and since its resumption in June, the government restrictions and guidance put in place to prevent the spread of the virus had limited the number of workers that can be on-site at one time.

“However, the project team and our partners have worked tirelessly to ensure construction of this fantastic facility continues and we look forward to welcoming students into it in 2022”, said the spokesperson.

The University did not address whether the delay and increase in cost were wholly related to the coronavirus pandemic or if other factors played a part in the delay and increased cost.

The Science Teaching Hub, which aims to provide ‘flexible, serviced laboratory spaces to accommodate specialist teaching across many Schools’, was given the go-ahead by former Principal and Vice-Chancellor Sir Ian Diamond.

Graeme Paton, the Head of the School of Biological Sciences and the project Director, said: “We need our graduates to have the technical skills and lab confidence to succeed in their future science career. If a physical distancing rule needs to be enforced, then we have better capacity in this building than our current estate.”

The building work is being done by Robertson, one of the biggest construction companies in the UK.

The company, which has a long history of working with the Ministry of Defence, recently completed a £100m Royal Air Force facility at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray, North East Scotland.

Robertson declined to comment on the delay and increased cost.


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