York pins hopes on huge expansion

May 12, 1995

York University, one of the smallest "old" universities, could become one of the largest if plans are approved for a threefold increase in students. Numbers could rise from 5,000 to 16,000.

The university, one of the Robbins generation of greenfield campus institutions, has prepared its first development review since it was founded more than 30 years ago. The original plan provided for only 3,000 places over the decade from 1962 to 1972. The plan involves its working population more than doubling to 22,000, the short-stay visiting population (conferences and short courses) rising by 50 per cent to 75,000, and university land expanding from 25 to 120 hectares.

York expects to increase to 7,000 students by the end of the century, expanding existing facilities on the two campuses in Heslington and York, where 12 hectares remain for development. There is great emphasis on research, particularly in thriving departments such as computer science. This department has a research rating of 5, with 650 applications for 80 undergraduate places, 400 applications for 63 postgraduate places, and research income per academic of Pounds 45,000, nearly double the national average. A new Pounds 3.5 million building has been proposed.

The longer term strategy is to build a third parkland campus with several residential colleges. "The alternative courses are to abandon growth, withdrawing into 'listed' torpor as a monument to enthusiasms of the 1960s, or to intensify the uses of campus 1 and campus 2, perhaps to the point where the qualities of campus 1 are lost," says the review.

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