Heart of the Campus Project

19 May 2019

Video: Margaret Banford

A new green space in the heart of the campus designed for everyone.

The University of Strathclyde’s Heart of the Campus project will focus on redeveloping the site of the old maternity hospital in Rottenrow Gardens

Glasgow Royal Maternity Hospital was originally founded in 1834, although it only moved to its final spot in Rottenrow gardens in the year 1860.

The building fell into disrepair in the latter part of the 20th century, and the hospital was finally incorporated into Glasgow Royal Infirmary in 2001.

Since then, the site has been mainly left alone, although it was reopened as a park in 2004.

The façade of the hospital building has been left intact, and it is considered a popular tourist attraction.

The Heart of the Campus project aims to take the park at Rottenrow and develop it into a more usable area.

Photograph: Margaret Banford

This will include the surrounding streets of North Portland Street and Richmond Street. The university itself is currently working on a plan which will make the surrounding streets safer for the students who are using the facilities.

Roddy Yarr, who is in charge of the Heart of the Campus project, said that while there are many considerations in this kind of work, he wanted to focus on was making the area open for everyone, not just students.

He said: “You need the fabric of space will change to help encourage people to be able to come into that space.

“They already do. People do come in there at lunchtimes, students, staff, visitors, business workers, people passing by will come in there.”

Beth Reynoldson, manager of the Wild Olive Tree café, said: “We quite often have people coming here who are interested in finding out what else is available in the city,” and who would be happy to find out about the new space.

Alison Taborda of the Millennium Hotel also agreed, although she also pointed out that having some leaflets or other adverts about the new area would help to inform people about it.

The project is in keeping with the history of the area. The façade of the maternity hospital will remain, as will the nappy pin statue.

The gardens itself will undergo extensive renovations, with the aim of improving accessibility.

Yarr said: “We’ve got that topography to cope with. So making it accessible is a challenge. If you look at the Gardens just now they’re not compliant with accessibility laws, since the ground is steeply sloped.”

Photograph: Margaret Banford

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