New sports building to be split with Glasgow University Union

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GUU President Chris Sibbald

Glasgow University’s Senior Management Group has been forced to shelve its plans to demolish the Glasgow University Union extension this January in order to expand the University’s sports facilities after facing intense pressure from the union and its supporters within the University.

In a joint statement, handed to the Guardian, co-written by GUU President, Chris Sibbald and University Principal, Anton Muscatelli they outlined the new criteria that must be met before the University would continue with the project:

The University will only commit the Sports Extension when we are also able to commit to a development of GUU social space that will sustain its activities

Speaking to the Glasgow Guardian, GUU president Chris Sibbald announced that architects were already in the process of drafting up designs for the new joint facility:

Currently we are looking at an eight storey building split between the union and the Sports centre. It will be four storeys of a new union and four of world class sports facilities. It’s a really exciting time. The Extension needs to be rebuilt because it simply isn’t built to handle the amount of people we have coming through the doors. There will be a split though so you don’t need to worry about clubbing on a basketball court.

The University’s original proposals had outlined plans to see demolition work on the Extension commence in January but now no work will begin on the building until at least September.

The University has long been home to a number of former GUU Presidents and Board Members, known colloquially as the “Old Boys”. A fact Sibbald is more than happy to acknowledge:

I find it amazing that David Newall thought he could force through this proposal even though three members of the Court are former GUU Presidents… It really could have been a success story for Glasgow University, the uniting of world class sports facilities with an historic union, but instead they have back tracked and come out looking pretty foolish.

With the decisions looking set to be finalised in December, one thing for sure is that with the future of the Hive ensured in one way or another the GUU will no doubt count this as a successful campaign, Sibbald certainly does:

I thought it was incredible that they thought we were just going to sit back and accept their decision. Of course we were going to fight.

From the views section of the October 13th print edition:

newall gavels web1 New sports building to be split with Glasgow University Union