The new extension to the Glasgow University Sports Association (GUSA) and the Glasgow University Union (GUU) is estimated to cost the University an additional £516,000, Glasgow Guardian can reveal.
At a meeting of the University Court on 12 February, the Finance Committee reported that that they had agreed “to proceed to re-tender” and “to grant delegated authority to a sub-group of the Estates and Finance Committees to authorise additional expenditure.”
It was also agreed that “there would be a need for additional funding of £516k minimum including VAT.” This brings the budget for the project to a minimum of £13.9 million.
Construction was due to begin in Spring 2013, but because the existing extension was demolished before the construction work had been put out to tender, and with the cost estimations substantially higher than the initial budget of £13.4 million, the project has been delayed by over a year. The University is yet to complete the re-tendering process and the new extension is not due to open until mid-2015 at the earliest.
In the report of the GUU Board of Management, included in the GUU’s Annual Report and Financial Statements for the year ended 30 June 2013, the then-president of the GUU Gavin Tulloch wrote that: “The commencement and completion dates are still highly uncertain and our earliest realistic target for a fully functioning nightclub facility is Freshers’ Week 2016.”
The newly elected GUU president Owen Martin has denied this, however. Martin told the Glasgow Guardian: “In terms of the 2016 date stated in our annual accounts, this is GUU’s ‘critical date’ for the project. In other words this is the latest possible date that the GUU has planned to operate under the current circumstances of not having a fully functioning nightclub. I would like to re-iterate the current completion date is still mid-2015 as stated by the University. Our critical date is more to do with the deficit funding agreement and we currently have no concerns that cannot be dealt with by the Project Board upon which we sit.”
GUSA President-elect Tom Gebbie also spoke to Glasgow Guardian about his concerns regarding the time GUSA will be without the extension: “The Stevenson Building Extension Project being delayed until mid-2015 is obviously a bit disheartening, however I strongly believe it is better to ensure that the building is of a high quality and affordable rather than rushed. The delay is affecting GUSA and the SRS in that we have to source alternative facilities for club training and provide extra transport for a number of clubs.”
Gebbie added: “Furthermore, the gym is at capacity at peak times with many students having to queue for a turn on machines, which should not be happening. We are working hard to reduce the impact of these delays but this does take time and careful management. I am confident by mid-2015 we will have a new state of the art facility.”
The University of Glasgow said in a previous statement in December that: “As with all major building projects, the refurbishment of part of the Glasgow University Union and the Stevenson sports and recreation centre is a complex one. We are currently involved in a tendering process that is unfortunately taking longer than we had originally anticipated.”
The University has also said: “Whilst the final date of completion has moved from our original expectations we remain committed to delivering the very best facilities for staff and students.”
In January 2013, the GUU’s lease of the existing 1960s Extension expired, resulting in the loss of the popular and profitable Hive nightclub. The University intends to replace it with a new five-story structure connecting the GUU to the Sports and Recreation Stevenson Building on Oakfield Avenue.