Quarter of Aberdeen University must be repaired within ten years

More than a quarter of the University of Aberdeen's buildings are in need of repair within the next ten years, according to an internal report which warns of 'significant risks' if no action is taken.

Aberdeen university.

The document states that 21 per cent of the institution’s academic estate needs “major repair or replacement” in the short to medium term, defined as within five and ten years respectively.

The report, which was produced last month, also warns that a further 5 per cent of the university’s buildings are “inoperable, or at serious risk of major failure”.

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It adds that unless repairs are carried out, there will be “significant risks to health, safety and regulatory compliance requirements”.

Founded in 1495, Aberdeen is the fifth oldest university in the UK and one of Scotland’s four “ancient” institutions, alongside St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

University leaders are hoping to use loans to finance a £68 million redevelopment of its historic King’s College campus before boosting its intake of international students, who pay higher fees.

Non-EU students pay tuition fees of up to £18,400 a year, compared to the £9,250 paid by students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The internal document says the university’s “growth targets” will result in an 8 per cent rise in international undergraduates by 2021.

“The priority projects identified to deliver transformation across King’s College will look to external borrowing to enable investment, justified by investment returns projected via the university’s strategic plans for growth,” it reads.

“As noted, these are largely predicated on the recruitment of students on international and premium fee paying programmes.”

The Scotsman understands that the 5 per cent of Aberdeen’s buildings described as “inoperable” are not currently being used. Repairs needed to the other 21 per cent could include relatively minor upgrades such as new wiring and fire alarms.

A university spokesman said: “As with other ancient universities, we face not insignificant challenges when it comes to keeping older parts of our infrastructure up to the high standards our staff and students deserve.

“Our recently opened £37m Rowett Institute building and planned £35m science teaching hub gives an idea of the level of investment we are making.”