Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 850,000 Plan Is Put on Hold by University; Cuts Mean Scheme for a 'Floating' Meeting Room Fail to Get off Ground

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Pounds 850,000 Plan Is Put on Hold by University; Cuts Mean Scheme for a 'Floating' Meeting Room Fail to Get off Ground

Article excerpt

Byline: Jon Offredo

ANORTH East university has been forced to put one of its building projects on hold indefinitely due to budget cuts.

Newcastle University had been planning to extend its King's Gate building to include meeting rooms and dining space for VIPs and guests.

However, it was estimated it would cost pounds 850,000, which university bosses said they could not justify when money is already tight.

The pounds 30m King's Gate development opened under two years ago opposite Newcastle Civic Centre. It was designed to house student and administrative services under one roof and aimed to become the "new front door" to the university. Newcastle University's registrar John Hogan said: "When we opened the new building in 2009 we wanted it to be a single point of contact for student services and all of our administrative staff relocated.

"We wanted it to become the new front door and it has been very effective. It houses around 400 members of staff and they are distributed across all floors. It is an efficiently well-packed building.

"An issue that arose after we moved in, however, is that there wasn't a reception area or discreet meeting space for VIPs or guests.

"We began to explore the possibility of creating a new space, adding on to the top floor, which would include meeting rooms and dining facilities which would be removed from the hubbub of the offices."

An in-house team of architects came up with a design for a "floating" meeting room and atrium, but plans were still to be approved.

"The initial costs for the design were estimated at around pounds 850,000 and we thought that was too high, so we decided we couldn't proceed at this time or in the immediate future," said Mr Hogan.

"The university is already facing a challenging financial year, like all universities, and we have other building projects that have to take priority. …

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