Design and dance benefit from facilities fund

March 10, 2000

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has earmarked Pounds 74 million for the improvement of poor university estates.

The money will be shared between 31 projects over three years, estimated to cost institutions Pounds 233 million in total.

A Pounds 1.6 million gymnasium and dance studio at Surrey University, a Pounds 9 million science centre at the University of North London and a Pounds 1.25 million development of new exhibition spaces at Wimbledon School of Art are among projects winning a contribution from the fund.

A council spokesman said Hefce had originally received 128 bids from institutions for funds for the improvement of a wide range of estates facilities including laboratories, workshops and art and design studios. In total these institutions requested nearly Pounds 288 million from Hefce for projects estimated to cost Pounds 700 million.

Under the scheme, which last year allocated Pounds 93 million, bidding institutions are expected at the minimum to provide funds to match the contribution requested from the council. A third tranche of funding for the initiative, worth Pounds 30 million, is expected to be announced later this year.

Hefce originally set aside Pounds 105 million for its poor estates initiative for the period 1998-2001. But in response to the scale of new build and refurbishment necessary, the fund has been increased to Pounds 250 million over 1998-2002.

Awards are subject to institutions providing further financial details of the project. Some projects, where a maximum of Pounds 4 million has been awarded by the council, will attract visits from council officials and members of the advisory panel for the scheme.

Projects falling into this category include a Pounds 12 million scheme to consolidate Birkbeck College's Malet Street campus and a Pounds 10 million campus development scheme at Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Higher Education.

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