Investment and Development at the University of Gdańsk
University of Gdańsk – Development and Investment
From its very foundation, the University’s main problem was lack of proper facilities. Because University buildings were scattered over an area of more than 60 km – from Gdansk to Hel – the University has been called the longest university in Europe. At first classes were held in Gdańsk-Wrzeszcz, in the historic building of the Royal Teachers’ Seminary (dating from 1908), which can be called the “cradle” of the University. (Here in 1945 there was a two-year Pedagogical Institution, which in 1946 became a three-year State Teacher Training College, and in 1952 a Teacher Training College.) Conditions in this building were unusually cramped, and some of the classes were held on the other side of the street in truly Spartan surroundings. In Sopot, Economics found a home in the buildings of the former Higher School of Economics (today the Faculties of Economics and Management are located there).
At the beginning of the 1970s on the University campus in Gdańsk-Oliwa two new buildings were built – in October 1972, the building of the Humanities Faculty, called “Humanka,” (today it is home to the Faculty of Languages and Literature and the Faculty of History), and three years later, the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Chemistry entered the second new building (today the site of the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics, and Informatics). The Rectorat took over the modernized building of the IX Liceum (Secondary School). On the Oliwa Campus, student dormitories, a hostel for junior staff, and dining facilities were also built. (In 2007, this building was refurbished to accommodate University student organizations, the Department of Logopedia, the Gdańsk University of the Third Age, and several sections of the administration.)
The economic crisis in Poland in the 1970s and 1980s slowed down investment in buildings for twenty years. The University authorities were able to obtain buildings so that the University could continue functioning, but all buildings were in need of repair and refurbishment, and adaptation for teaching and research. The breakthrough came in the 1990s. After years of stagnation, dynamic changes were heralded by the construction of the Faculty of Law and Administration Building on the Gdańsk-Oliwa Campus. The cornerstone of the new building was laid on October 14, 1996. Classes began in there in autumn 2000, and the whole construction project was completed in 2002. In Gdańsk in 1998 work was completed on the new building for the Inter-Collegiate Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Gdańsk and the Gdańsk Medical Academy (now the Gdańsk Medical University).
The University of Gdańsk’s investment in development is concentrated in the expansion of the University on three campus sites: in Oliwa (The University of Gdańsk Baltic Campus), in Sopot, and in Gdynia. The University’s infrastructure has been developed in recent years principally through financial support obtained through European Union programs. New faculty buildings, and work units, and laboratories, provided with state-of-the-art equipment, open up new possibilities for scientific and scholarly research, and for cooperation with the economy and with business. They also offer twenty-first century conditions for study, and positively influence the development of a workforce for the administration and economy of the Pomeranian Region and for the entire Baltic Region.
The Baltic Campus of the University of Gdańsk in Gdańsk-Oliwa
The largest group of University of Gdańsk students, employees, and buildings is concentrated on the Gdańsk Oliwa Campus. It is home to the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Chemistry, the Faculty of Languages and Literatures, the Faculty of History, the Faculty of Mathematics, the Faculty of Physics and Computer Studies, the Faculty of Social Sciences, and the Faculty of Law and Administration. It also contains the Main University Library, student dormitories, and the University Administration. The Campus has expanded in accordance with the long-term Investment Plan of the University of Gdańsk for the years 2011-2020. The expansion of the University of Gdańsk Baltic Campus, part of the dynamic development of the Three Cities area in general, has completely altered the appearance of this district of Gdańsk.
Recent investments include the Social Sciences Faculty building which also houses the Institute of Geography. The building was opened in 2008. It contains modern lecture halls, with multi-media equipment, special facilities for sociology, observation, therapy, visual arts, and music, a photographic studio, a radio studio, and also a spacious foyer that can host exhibitions and concerts. Since 2006 the academic community of the University of Gdańsk has had at its disposal the Main Library of the University, the most modern library in the Pomeranian Region, conceived as a centre of scientific and scholarly information for the whole community. Entirely computerized, it offers open access to more than half a million volumes. Its reading rooms fully meet the requirements of the twenty-first century, and its special rooms for individual work are at used by students and the academic community of the whole region.
The University of Gdańsk Baltic Campus in Oliwa is the site of one of the largest investments in Poland, co-financed by the European Union from the resources of the European Regional Development Fund, Infrastructure and Environment Operational Fund (Priority Axis 13). The project “Construction of Buildings for the Faculties of Chemistry and Biology of the University of Gdańsk” has led to the construction of new buildings for three faculties. The total cost of the project was almost 241 million PLN, of which more than 231 million PLN came from the Infrastructure and Environment Operational Fund (covering construction costs for both faculty buildings). The entire cost of construction for the Faculty of Biology, along with its equipment, came to almost 105 million PLN; that of the Faculty of Chemistry amounted to more than 133 million PLN.
The new building of the Faculty of Biology was opened on 1 October 2012 during the inauguration of the new academic year. The entire surface of the new Faculty of Biology building covers more than 23,000 square meters. The building consists of two four-storey wings and one five-storey wing. They are connected by a spacious foyer impressively appointed with greenery. Each wing is dedicated to a particular specialization: molecular biology, environmental biology, and experimental biology. The building includes 2 large lecture halls, 3 smaller lecture rooms, 16 seminar rooms, 74 laboratories, and 38 specialist workshops. The building is fitted with audiovisual equipment, access control and monitoring, IT and teleinformation networks.
The Faculty of Chemistry was formally opened on 27 May 2013. This building complex is an integrated collection of buildings designed for teaching, research, workshops, and storage. The surface area is 28,572 square meters. It holds modern research and teaching laboratories, lecture and seminar rooms, and auditoriums. The auditoriums’ modern infrastructure makes it possible to hold multi-session conferences here. There is technological hall, in which research and teaching can be conducted in chemical and environmental engineering. An important aspect of the new building is an area dedicated to a university workshop for physical and chemical measurements, which is made possible by concentrating modern research equipment in one place.
A new building for Modern Languages and central administration ware opened in 2015 on the Oliwa Campus. This project is part financed by the Regional Operational programme for the Pomeranian Voivodeship for the years 2007-2013 (Priority Axis 2, Knowledge Transfer) and the sum involved is 37 million PLN. This new building will house the Institutes of English and American Studies, German Language and Literature, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Eastern Slavic Studies, and the Departments of Classics, Scandinavian Studies, and Slavic Studies. It will also contain faculty administrative offices, modern lecture rooms, rooms for specialist translation, and conference rooms. There will be a language laboratory, computer rooms, rooms for the Dean’s Office, which will allow student matters to be dealt with an appropriate manner, and an e-learning centre. The building will be provided with the latest technology and equipment (for example, translation systems and simultaneous translation facilities).
The Central Administration building is a separate investment. It will accommodate a modern archive for the whole University, which will be at the level of an official state archive. It will also hold the UG Computer Centre, the Finance Office, offices for the principal University administrators and officers, and other Central Administration offices, along with training and conference facilities.
Recent investment of the University of Gdańsk is the Institute of Biotechnology. The project was implemented within the Operational Programme Infrastructure and Environment. The entire value of the investment amounts to 60,5 million PLN, of which 60,4 million comes from the Programme. The building, which will have a useable surface area of 7,868.18 square meters, will consist of four floors above ground, and one below. It will be one of the most up-to-date research and teaching buildings in the Pomeranian Region. It will contain specialist laboratories, including ones for bioinformatics and biomolecular analyses, a phytotron unit, a laboratory that meets advanced cleanliness and sealing standards, an isotope laboratory, and work areas for developmental research. The building will also contain teaching rooms for undergraduate and doctoral students – teaching and research laboratories, seminar rooms, computing rooms, a 200-seat auditorium, rooms for student research groups and forums, a reading room, and a Faculty Council chamber.
The plans for the University of Gdańsk Campus in Oliwa include the construction of an Institute of Informatics, a University Centre for Sport and Recreation, and a student dormitory with around 250 places and a pre-school. The development of the Baltic Campus offers a chance to create in Pomerania one of the strongest academic and scientific-scholarly centres in the Baltic Region. It will play the role of a scientific-scholarly, teaching, and student centre for the Pomerania Region.
UG Campuses in Sopot and Gdynia
By long tradition Sopot is the home of economics. The Faculties of Economics and Management are there, and from October 2010 it is also the site of the Computer Centre, which joins the older and the newer part of the Faculty. The project was co-financed from the European Regional Development Fund, as part of the Pomeranian Voivodeship Regional Operational Program for years 2007-2013. The Economics Faculty also acquired a fine new five-storey building, with a surface area of 5,550 square meters, which exploits the space between the wings of the Faculty and links them, thus creating an integral whole. In the newly constructed part, there is a modern 400-seat auditorium and a 150-seat lecture hall. It also contains the Faculty Council chamber, 16 teaching rooms, including two computer rooms, seminar and tutorial rooms, recording rooms, and technical and sanitary facilities. The plans for the Sopot Campus also include the construction of a new student dormitory.
In 2005, on the Gdynia campus, where the Faculty of Oceanography and Geography is based, a central building of the Institute of Oceanography was constructed, with modern laboratories and work units, and an exhibition area. The Institute of Oceanography building won recognition from the Leader of Gdynia City Council as the best investment of 2006 in the “Time for Gdynia” competition.
The latest strategy, adopted by the University of Gdańsk Senate in 2010, draws on the institution’s traditions, outlines its core values and mission, and sets out a vision of its development through to 2020. The University’s core values are: the rational pursuance of truth through original scientific and scholarly research, a respect for the best models in world science and scholarship, modern education in the service of the development of civilization and society, mutual respect and trust, tolerance for diversity of views, and solidarity within the entire academic community. The University’s mission is to educate valued graduates who are provided with the broad and many-facetted knowledge, skills, and competences essential in knowledge-based socio-economic life, and to make a lasting contribution to scientific and scholarly knowledge of the world and to the solving of important contemporary problems. The next decade of the University’s development will see the creation of a new level of quality in education, in scientific-scholarly research, and in cooperation with the community.
Conscious of its own potential, the University of Gdańsk strongly promotes bi- and multi-lateral initiatives in support of science and scholarship by scientific-scholarly centres and institutions in the Baltic Region. The expansion of research, the introduction of new fields of study that provide an opportunity for multi-facetted development, and further augmentation of the infrastructure for teaching and research will allow the University of Gdańsk to confirm its leadership position among tertiary-level institutions in Poland.
Dr Beata Czechowska-Derkacz, Press Spokesperson, University of Gdańsk
Translator: David Malcolm