University plans £1 billion revamp
The University of Leicester has announced plans to spend £1 billion redeveloping its campus.
The building programme, one of the biggest undertaken in higher education, will see a complete overhaul of the university's grounds.
The institution believes development of its campus is crucial to attracting the best students and cementing its reputation as one of the country's top universities.
The plans, which will take at least 20 years to be completed, will allow the university to increase its full-time student numbers from 10,000 to 15,000 and provide services 24 hours a day.
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Professor Robert Burgess, the vice-chancellor, said the time was right to invest, despite the international financial crisis.
He said: "In a global education marketplace, it is essential that the physical attributes of the university reflect its world-class research and teaching.
"We are planning for decades ahead. What will take shape at Leicester will speak volumes for the kind of institution we are and our ambition to continue to be one of the best."
Prof Burgess said funding could come from the university's own money, capital grants from Government, loans and money raised from benefactors.
The university plans to launch new fund-raising campaigns for capital works shortly, starting with the redevelopment of the Students' Union building.
Paul Goffin, the university's director of estates, said: "First impressions are extremely important.
"It has been said that prospective students form a firm opinion about a university within their first 15 minutes of arrival at an open day.
"No university can afford to be complacent about its ability to attract students."
The university said its listed 19th and 20th century buildings would be incorporated into the development which would see a massive increase in space for teaching, research and halls of residence.
Plans for the campus also include an increase in shops, eating and drinking spaces, cultural venues, underground parking and public squares.
Leicester South MP Sir Peter Soulsby, a graduate of the university, said: "These improvements to the university estate will ensure the quality of the facilities match the very high standards of research and teaching."
Mike Carr, executive director of business services for the East Midlands Development Agency, said: "The university's development plan is bold and exciting, and complements our long-term vision to create a flourishing region where people want to live, work and study."
The university said the redevelopment was likely to create hundreds of jobs.
Its new £32 million library, which opened this year, is included in the £1 billion plans.