St Andrew’s College, Bearsden: feasibility study

10 April 2000 | blog, education, frameworks, neighbourhood, place making, strategy

St Andrew's Bearsden
In January 2000, EDAW and Drivers Jonas were commissioned by Dunbartonshire Enterprise (DE), East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) and the University of Glasgow, to undertake feasibility study into alternative uses for St Andrew’s College, Bearsden. The College site is due to become available for redevelopment in 2001, when the existing teacher training activity is transferred to the University of Glasgow’s Gilmourhill site.

The St Andrew’s College, Bearsden Brief

The aim of the study is to consider the site for the following alternative uses:

  • education and training – further education, private sector training, secondary school provision and short courses
  • technology – incubator units, innovation centre and technology village
  • tourism and leisure – hotel and centre of excellence for arts/sports
  • public sector – council and health boards

A mix of the above should also be considered.

Under each of the possible alternative uses, the following is being examined:

  • feasibility
  • deliverability
  • technical issues
  • current market conditions
  • costs and
  • links to other sites

Development Scenarios and Options

From the foregoing analysis, together with the client workshop to assess the range of possibilities, three broad concepts have emerged, each of which could have adjuncts. The concepts are set out below with their key elements, benefits and weaknesses. In summary:

Concept A – College Option
The site is already established as a teacher training college. To change to another college use – whether local or national/international – would be entirely compatible with the buildings and policies relating to the site. Indeed, a disposal to a comparable use would not of itself require planning permission.

As noted earlier, there is some potential interest from local organizations, such as Clydebank College, although this would not require the whole site. It may also be possible to secure interest from institutions further afield who wish to establish a Scottish – or even European – presence. We have no clear evidence of the scale or frequency of this market opportunity.
St Andrew's - Option-a
An educational college use would probably require a change to the site, to include more ICT capability, modernise the facilities and progressively add new provision, including leisure infrastructure. An illustration of how this could be provided is shown above. Depending on the nature of the user, they could well make use of the accommodation provision, although this is likely to need upgrading also.

Concept B – School Options

Unusually perhaps for a college, it would be possible for conversion to a school because of the classroom and laboratory provision, which formed much of the accommodation, coupled with main hall and leisure facilities. Admittedly, some updating of the buildings and rooms would be necessary to achieve up to date standards, but the basic facility would appear to be capable of adaption to such as use. An illustration of how such an adaptation could be provided is shown in Figure 7.2.

St Andrew's - Option-bAlternative scenarios may be envisaged for:

• A Secondary School
• Primary and Secondary Schools
• Dual campus
• Centre of Excellence

Concept C – Knowledge Campus Option

The third major option is the development of a knowledge campus, which combines a number of key strands from the research. Basically the composition would include a range of important uses, none of which could occupy the whole site on their own. An illustration of how such a campus might fit into the site is shown below. The composition of uses might include:

• college use of core training facilities in media, technology, drama, etc
• an innovation center comprising a range of business premises for short term let (from 200sq ft upwards);
• support facilities including IT, management and conference rooms; and
• a focus on knowledge based growth sectors including software, information services, learning organisations, media and consultancy
St Andrew's - Option-c
This approach would use a significant part of the existing accommodation, but would probably need additional new buildings for ‘own front door’ of growth businesses. The key would be to provide a management and organisational mechanism, which allows for a long-term evolution of the growth sector businesses across and beyond the site.