The University of York has unveiled plans for a purpose-built research building as part of a major upgrade of its older campus.
The university last year revealed it was looking to spend £400 million over ten years to improve facilities on its Heslington West campus, which is now more than 50 years old.
It is now seeking permission for a new “environment building” as a centre for studies that are currently spread across different sites.
If approved by City of York Council, the four-storey building would house the university’s environment department, the Stockholm Environmental Institute York, the York Environmental Sustainability Institute and BioArCh, a research group covering biology, archaeology and chemistry. It would replace an existing accommodation block next to Wentworth College.
In a statement to council planners, Bond Bryan Architects said the environment department’s research was the second highest-rated in the UK and the 17th best in the world, but had outgrown its facilities in several buildings at Heslington West. It said the new building would include laboratories, research offices and social facilities.
The firm said: “York is one of the best universities in the UK and one of the top 100 universities in the world, with a need to grow in order to maintain its position.
“To achieve these aims, the university is upgrading buildings on Heslington West to increase and improve the facilities currently on offer.
“Approximately half the current buildings were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s, and many are beyond their useful design lives and are now in relatively poor condition compared with current standards.
“With projected increases in student numbers of between 20 and 25 per cent during the next ten years, it will be necessary to improve and increase the university’s current estate.”
The architects said work on Heslington West was being done through a “decommissioning” programme, involving buildings being replaced or converted, and the environment building next to Scullion Lake would be “striking” and “present an image which is welcoming”.