Campus - 02.07.2017 - 00:00 

Three building projects for the University of St.Gallen

The government of the Canton of St.Gallen intends to advance the structural development of the University of St.Gallen with three projects. Firstly, it wants to establish a new campus in the Platztor area and secondly, it wants to renovate the existing Library Building. Independently of this, the HSG Foundation intends to realise a third project: a Learning Center for the HSG funded with private resources.

3 July 2017. After the conclusion of the test planning stage in 2016, the Rosenberg and Platztor projects were detached from each other and pursued separately. There is now a further separation for the Rosenberg location: the renovation of the existing library and a new Learning Center financed with private funds.

A new piece of town with a new campus
In the Platztor area, the Canton is planning new premises for teaching and research. The full-time MBA will also be housed in the new building. Up to 3,000 students, as well as faculty and staff, will work in the new building. The ground floor in St.Jakob-Strasse will be made available to third parties for events related to the University. The exterior space of the new building will be accessible to the public. A square along Unterer Graben with generous crossings into the old town should contribute towards the creation of a lively new piece of town. To create as direct a footpath connection as possible, the next planning steps will examine an improvement of the existing flights of steps.

Contribution by the Confederation and the HSG

According to current plans, the overall costs of the Platztor campus will amount to CHF 205m. This includes an expected federal contribution of CH 25m. The Cantonal Government also expects the University of St.Gallen to contribute CHF 20m to the overall costs. Through the sale of the real estate in the Platztor area, the City of St.Gallen is making a contribution of CHF 2m to this location. This will result in an expected borrowing requirement of CHF 158m for the Canton.

The Cantonal Parliament will debate the dispatch in 2018. The popular vote is scheduled for 2019. What the building is supposed to look like will be decided in the subsequent architectural competition. According to the Canton of St.Gallen’s new real estate management, this will take place after the ballot. The earliest possible start of construction work will be 2023, and the building will be finished by 2027.

Providing an innovative learning environment

To meet the challenges of digitisation and the HSG’s quality requirements, a Learning Center on the Rosenberg is intended to provide new forms of learning. It will offer innovative learning environments complemented by new digital media, thus creating a setting for learning-oriented personal encounters. Sustainable competencies will be fostered in group work rooms and arenas, for instance the reinforcement of social and technological competence, the ability to conduct debates, and entrepreneurial and creative thinking. 500 learning and working stations in the Learning Center will be able to satisfy the HSG demand for more space in a bigger learning environment.

The HSG Foundation intends to ensure complete funding by means of donations. Overall costs of CHF 40-50m have been budgeted for construction, equipment and commissioning. The realisation of the HSG Learning Center is contingent on whether the lion’s share of the amount can be secured by early 2018. The required real estate will be provided to the HSG Foundation by the Canton of St.Gallen through a land lease agreement. As a next step, the architectural competition will be launched in August. Construction work is expected to start in 2019/20 to ensure that the building can be commissioned in Spring Semester 2022.

The planned location of the Learning Center will not affect that natural garden and the family gardens in terms of surface. During construction, however, parts of the family gardens may be required, for instance for building installations.

Library Building to be renovated

Besides building a campus in the Platztor area, the Canton intends to renovate the Library Building on the Rosenberg. After about 30 years of use, this will be the first major renovation job. Owing to the growth in student numbers in recent years, the Library Building has suffered a great deal of wear and tear. Among other things, restoration work will renew the building technology, and the flat roof will be completely renovated. Restoration work will also include measures in the realm of seismic safety and fire protection. The capacity of the Library will remain unchanged at 3,500 students.

The restoration is expected to cost CHF 16m. Since the part of the work that adds value amounts to approx. CHF 1.3m, the proposal will be subject to the optional financial referendum. It is planned to draw up the proposal for the Cantonal Parliament by autumn 2017. The Cantonal Parliament will debate this issue in the first half of 2018. Since the Library is heavily used during the semester, restoration work is scheduled to be realised in the summer holidays of three successive years. Renovation work is expected to start in 2019 and be completed in 2021.

The need is evident

The University of St.Gallen urgently needs more space. Today’s location on the Rosenberg was designed for approx. 5,000 students, the existing Library Building of 1989 even for only 3,500. Today, more than 8,300 students are enrolled at the HSG. The University’s Board of Governors expects growth to bottom out by 2020 and student numbers to level off at 8,000-9,000. In addition, the planning permissions for the provisional buildings will lapse in the coming years. The three projects will strengthen the HSG and Eastern Switzerland since other cantons will also make high investments in their university infrastructures. International competition in the field of education will also continue to gain in dynamism.

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