University unveils vision for major campus revamp

An artist's impression of the reception area
An artist's impression of the reception area
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EDINBURGH Napier University has unveiled plans to upgrade its Merchiston campus.

The revamp will create a new reception complex facing on to Colinton Road, which will also provide bespoke gallery space to display students’ work.

The plans – part of the university’s £100 million estates strategy – also include the development of new state-of-the-art music studios.

The new studio space will accommodate students and staff moving from the Craighouse campus, which the university has sold but will continue to occupy until mid-2013.

Internally, the format and layout of several other teaching rooms is also being altered to meet the needs of the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Creative Industries.

There are also plans for a secure bicycle storage area.

Edinburgh-based RMJM, the architects responsible for the redevelopment of Napier’s Sighthill Campus, have designed the upgrade.

Dame Professor Joan Stringer, principal and vice-chancellor of Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are committed to enhancing the student experience, and we will continue to invest in our facilities.” 

Merchiston is the original home of John Napier, the renowned mathematician who invented logarithms.

He was born and lived in the medieval tower house of Merchiston Castle, which has always been an integral part of the Merchiston campus.

The new glass reception area will be designed to ensure that Napier Tower is still in view.

If planning permission is approved, work will begin in February next year and should be completed in December 2012 or January 2013.

An information event will be held in the Triangle cafe of Merchiston campus next Thursday, from 4pm to 7pm.

It will give members of the public the opportunity to view the proposals and ask questions of the design team. The event will be widely publicised in advance around the local area.

A university spokesman said: “The internal refurbishment work is partly due to health, life and sports scientists having moved from Merchiston to the university’s new Sighthill campus, so old labs and other spaces need to be adapted.

“Sighthill is now the home of our Faculty of Health, Life and Social Sciences – before staff were previously distributed across our Craighouse, Merchiston, Canaan Lane and Comely Bank sites.

“There is also the issue of accommodating new staff and students at Merchiston, like those music students currently based at our Craighouse campus, which we have now sold. Our photography students will also be moving into Merchiston from our Marchmont campus.”

A decision on the application is expected to be made by the city council before the end of the year.