Technology and accessiblity at its heart - inside the JMSLH

Issued: Mon, 07 Oct 2019 12:38:00 BST

It’s a little under 12 months until the James McCune Smith Learning Hub is due to become fully operational, ready for the new academic year in September 2020.  When it opens, it will be an important new facility for students, specifically designed to deliver modern, state-of-the-art learning, teaching and social spaces.

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It seems fitting to be talking about the Hub during Black History Month, as the building is named after civil right pioneer James McCune Smith, and shares his vision of increasing access to education.

In fact, this is a building with accessibility at its very heart. Unlike a lot of the older buildings on campus, it is designed to be completely accessible for those with a disability. It’s also open later than most of our other buildings, from 6am – 11pm, meaning it’s available to those for those who need to study outside typical core hours, for example, those with caring responsibilities.

This is the first major building delivered through the University’s Campus Development programme, and ensures students are among the first to benefit.

Delivering 3,500 extra spaces, primarily for undergraduate study, the Hub will ease some of the pressure on current facilities. Having been designed in consultation with students, it will deliver technologically enhanced facilities and features, ensuring Glasgow will offer the very best possible learning environments and student experience.

The building is also built with flexibility and connectivity in mind; there will be no fixed desktop PCs, allowing more space to connect devices. Pervasive and reliable high-speed wifi will make connectivity simple and straightforward and and there will be more power outlets available than is the case in other buildings across campus, so it’s easier to recharge devices on the go.

This building is also really exciting in that it will also be a home for student social events and societies, with bookable meeting spaces, three catering outlets and spaces for pop-up stalls and exhibitions. It will be a home on campus for these activities, where we currently don’t have one.

It goes without saying that the opening of the Hub will be a big moment for the student community at Glasgow, and probably the most significant student-focussed development since the University Library was built, over 50 years ago.

Personally, I would also like to thank the many students who were involved in the consultation and development phases and those who have put up with the noise disruption of the construction process. I know that many of you will have graduated by the time the Hub opens and won’t directly feel the benefits, but needless to say, I don’t think we could have created such an exciting and important development without your input.

I look forward to sharing more info about the JMSLH and its facilities throughout the year – so watch this space!

Scott Kirby

SRC President