About campus development, where are we going?

The development of the campus and especially the facilities program and the cuts presented in facilities within have been a big topic in the community, especially last year. The facilities program refers to a series of measures based on the campus development strategy. The purpose of the strategy is to review the current facilities of the university and to develop the use of them. The project was divided into two separate phases in the fall of 2021, after students and staff had raised fuss about the topic. Personally, I consider the separation of the phases to be a successful solution and it helped to calm the university community and the situation. During the winter and spring, public debate has been quieter and more calm.

At the same time, the campus development staff and consultants have prepared the implementation of the first phase and developed plans as a basis for the second phase measures. As a member of the board responsible for campus development myself, I have been able to follow the preparations and have been up to date on the various phases of design and possible measures. For my part, it has been great to be able to follow the preparations and I can say that I am pleased with the direction things are going, knowing that there is a professional group working on them.

At its meeting on 16 May 2022, the University board decided to continue preparations for the second phase on the basis of option 2B, which was on the agenda. Under this option, the aim of the possible cuts have been significantly moderated and the focus has shifted from a radical reduction to the development of existing spaces. In Option 2B, only the Virta building on the central campus and partly the Hervanta Konetalo will be given away. The development of the facilities focuses on the central campus, more specifically Päätalo and Linna, where the idea is to develop the facilities into more modern ones.

The first phase will focus more on modernizing the Hervanta campus and will go hand in hand with the Sähkötalo Research Hub project, where Sähkötalo will be renovated. The Sähkötalo project is currently in the needs assessment phase and according to the current schedule, construction is scheduled to begin in 2023 and be completed by 2025. In the first phase, most of Hervanta’s Festia and Pinni A in the city center will also be given away. It is not just a matter of giving up facilities, but at the same time developing and modernizing other facilities.

I am a fourth-year architecture student myself, and thanks to my study background, I have a good understanding of the facilities program, the stages of various projects, and the design solutions and related decision-making levels. However, this is not necessarily clear to other members of the community, nor can it be assumed. Therefore, it is important to communicate projects clearly and provide information to the community, as well as open up awkwardly sounding concepts or conceptual differences.

The projects and phases are also very participatory at the moment, it is important that the surveys and opportunities also reach the target group. Community members also have their own responsibilities for project involvement. So I encourage everyone to participate and influence and share their opinions and thoughts when asked for by community members! This also requires a certain degree of active citizenship and monitoring of the situation. It’s also good to remember that it’s a long, multi-year process and the plans live on over time. Design and implementation are large and complex processes.

Personally, I think we are moving in the right direction with the projects and that the projects are in good hands. I also understand the concerns of the community and the issues that arise from it, which is why I encourage all members to get involved and look for places to make an impact!

I look forward to what our campuses will look like in 2030!

– Otto