Universities unite over Olympic Park
Although there is still a long way to go until the Olympic Games are in full swing, many organisations are already eyeing up the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park for future development.
The three bids shortlisted for chance to occupy the press and broadcast centres all involve a higher or further education element.
iCITY hope to build an ‘Innovation City’, which will accommodate a cloud computing centre, research labs, and digital education. The UK Fashion Hub hope to transform the space into a material world with a site dedicated to everything design including a brand new fashion college. The Oxylane Group have presented a bid in partnership with Loughborough University for a sports-orientated, mixed-use space.
Loughborough University has been heavily involved with the Olympics and was chosen as the training base for GB team ahead of the summer games. The university will also be hosting the Japanese Olympic team and it is believed a number of smaller countries are also considering using the university's impressive training facilities.
However, it is not just Queen Elizabeth Park that is attracting interest from HE organisations. University College London (UCL) is also developing plans for a new campus to the east of the park.
"The scale of the site we are looking at – over 20 acres – in central London terms is incredible, and the fact that it will be adjacent to the Olympic Park is a significant attraction. The government has invested hugely in the area, and the Olympic Park will be fabulous," said UCL's director of estates, Andrew Grainger.
However, Grainger also confirmed that the plans were still in the early stages and the decision will not be finalised until the summer.
UCL is eager to work with their neighbours, whoever they may be. In particular Grainger hopes to build on existing links with the University of East London. "We see them as very good neighbours, with whom we work closely," he said.