The University of York have drafted a Space Strategy plan, outlining the direction in which they would like the University develop in ten or more years time.
The space issues under consideration include learning, social, accommodation, catering, and has also been looking at the potential for a Union building, and is still in draft stages. YUSU President, Tim Ngwena, who has been the chief representative for the Student Union throughout the consultation process, and will be guided by a working group, has stated that “there will be a new student centre within the next ten years”.
Ngwena has eludicated that among the initial proposals are the potential for a campus-based nightclub; an entirely new building; or expansion of both academic study and student activities in its current location.
The plans are inclusive of both Heslington campuses, with locations including Langwith, Heslington East and Spring Lane. A centralised Union building with an incorporated bar is one of the possible options.
Elizabeth Heaps, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Estates and Strategic Projects, has notably called for student opinion via the Union, resulting in plans for a Union-formed working group, consisting of students and officers to examine the University’s plan and voice the issues that are most pertinent to students, some relating to YUSU’s draft Strategic Plan.
Heaps commented: “we are not yet able to make firm undertakings as to exactly when this work might take place. We are currently working on the Estates Strategy which will create a prioritised programme of building and refurbishment over the next ten years and beyond.”
A similar group, chaired by Pro-Vice Chancellor for Students, Jane Grenville, was disbanded last year. The new group aims to ensure that the Space Plans correspond to student needs.
Last year, proposals for a student centre “wouldn’t have been deemed viable in terms of monetary solutions,” Ngwena remarked.
He continued: “The University committed to a plan before the recession, and made a capital budget before the recession.” However, Heslington West has reached its 23% of land suitable for construction, therefore plans would require demolishing or refurbishing current structures.