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Nat and Tech will not be relocating to Kasernen after all

The planned relocation of a variety of academic activities as well as the joint Nat-Tech administrative centre to Kasernen i Aarhus will not take place. The plan is not financially viable. Arts is now reviewing its plan with regard to Katrinebjerg, where the faculty was intending to consolidate some of its activities.

Photo: Lars Kruse

Nat and Tech were planning to establish some teaching activities at Kasernen on Langelandsgade in Aarhus, in addition to moving the joint administrative centre to the new location from the University Park. This had been decided in connection with Aarhus University’s campus development plan, which was adopted last year. This would free up space for more teaching and research activities in the University Park, while the two faculties’ joint administrative centre would still be close to many of the faculties’ academic activities.

However, Nat and Tech have been forced to realise that the financial situation of the two faculties will not permit the realisation of the plan to relocate some activities to Kasernen. This became clear after a closer review of the university’s finances earlier this year, in particular the budgetary challenges facing Tech, where a cost-reduction process is currently in progress. In addition, Nat needs to be careful to keep its rental expenses down.

Read the announcement from AU’s board about Tech’s finances

Necessary to take appropriate action

The other part of the plan was for Arts to vacate Kasernen and move into new facilities in Katrinebjerg, where Arts intended to consolidate activities from four different locations in one new building. In addition to offset higher rental expenses for Arts in Katrinebjerg, the plan was for Nat and Tech to contribute financially to meeting Arts’ higher costs. And it’s this part of the plan that the two faculties have determined that they are not in a position to carry out.

”Earlier this year, a plan to restore Tech’s finances was adopted, and it mandates cutbacks on expenses in relation to facilities, drawing on equity capital and slowing down the pace of the expansion of engineering programmes. In addition, Nat will have to be very cautious in relation to its rental expenses. For these reasons, the two faculties have assessed that it is no longer financially feasible to realise the plan to establish teaching activities at and move the administrative centre for the two faculties to Kasernen,” explained Niels Damgaard Hansen, head of the administrative centre for Nat and Tech.

The deans of the two faculties are extremely conscious of the fact that these new developments have put Arts in the new and unexpected position of having to reconsider plans in relation to Katrinebjerg.

“It’s extremely regrettable that we will not be able to deliver on the planned relocations. We didn’t get a full overview of the situation until the beginning of this year, and on that background, we can’t defend the move financially,” said the two deans of Nat and Tech respectively, Kristian Pedersen and Eskild Holm Nielsen.

Undiminished ambitions at the Faculty of Arts

Johnny Laursen, dean of the Faculty of Arts, finds the situation regrettable. He finds it particularly unfortunate that the future is now uncertain for the hard work students and staff at the School of Communication and Culture have put into developing a vision for Katrinebjerg:

“We find ourselves in a completely open-ended situation now. We will have to explore our options once again. In any case, we will have to develop a new plan for our current activities in Katrinebjerg. We’ll have to give this the time it needs, particularly in order to ensure close dialogue with the department.”

Laursen stressed that Arts will continue to emphasise the faculty’s ambitions in regard to research and teaching in IT-related fields in the coming discussions:

“Our ambition to strengthen our collaboration with Nat and Tech around IT-related teaching and research programmes in Katrinebjerg is undiminished. I’m looking forward to continuing our dialogue with the computer science programme, among others, and with my fellow deans about the visions for the Katrinebjerg area, which is one of the country’s strongest ecosystems for IT and digital technologies,” said Johnny Laursen.

Strong focus on the development of engineering activities

Nat and Tech will now begin the process of developing a new plan for where administrative functions will be located going forward. In relation to academic activities, the strong focus on the development of the engineering activities in Forskerparken and Katrinebjerg will be maintained and engineering activities will move into the buildings that IT will vacate in 2022, when they relocate to the University City. In addition, activities from Kalø and Silkeborg as well as selected activities from Foulum will be relocated to the University Park in early 2022.

Master plan for Katrinebjerg on the way

In collaboration with Forskningsfondens Ejendomsselskab A/S (FEAS), which rents the buildings to AU, the university will develop a master plan for AU’s activities in Katrinebjerg before the summer holiday in order to ensure well-coordinated, high-quality development of the area. All three deans will participate in a Katrinebjerg steering committee in this regard.


Further information

Read the news from Arts: New situation regarding campus plans