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REF NO.: 3
SUBJECT: Modernizing the Maltings: Memorial's European campus at Harlow, UK, re-opens after extensive renovations
DATE: Sept. 13
Closed since May for extensive renovation, Memorial University's European campus re-opened officially on Friday, Sept. 13, 2002. Sandra Kelly, minister of Youth Services and Post-Secondary Education, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Mel Cappe, Canadian high commissioner to the UK, joined Dr. Axel Meisen, president of Memorial University; Dr. Alan Perry, chairman of Harlow Campus Board of Trustees; Edward Roberts, chairman of Memorial University's Board of Regents; and Karen Cracknell, campus director, in Harlow, UK, to celebrate the re-opening. Other guests included representatives from Harlow businesses, local government and UK educational institutions, as well as from Memorial University and the provincial government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The newly refurbished campus is designed to meet the needs of today's university students and is also ideal for executive programs, retreats and conferences. With technologically equipped meeting facilities and residence accommodations, as well as excellent food service capacity, it will support university programs during academic terms and be available for booking by other organizations, especially during vacation periods. The campus is located in Harlow, Essex, midway between London and Cambridge, and consists of a group of 19th century and older historic buildings. While building interiors have been extensively modernized, none of the exteriors have been altered.
Minister Kelly said that the improvements to the Harlow Campus were a wise investment, one that her government approved. "The province was pleased to provide support to Memorial University in their efforts to secure funding for upgrades to the Harlow Campus," she said. "The Harlow Campus provides Newfoundland and Labrador students with the unique option to study and live in a European culture."
The provincial government gave Memorial University the authority earlier in the year to take a loan to undertake the renovations as part of a business plan to redevelop the campus. The cost of the renovations totalled about 400,000 British pounds or just under $1 million CDN. Memorial will repay the loan at no cost to the government and province. Part of the business plan for the campus includes the renting of Harlow's residences as meeting locations and accommodations to companies and individuals during the off-semester period.
According to Memorial President Axel Meisen, the university very much appreciates the government's support for this project, which is essential to the campus's future. "Our Harlow Campus was in serious need of physical renovation," said Dr. Meisen. "Now it is well suited for university students and other learners to experience 'living learning' in Europe. It will also serve as an excellent base for innovative new programs."
The first students to use the new, modernised campus arrived on Sept. 13 to study War, Reconstruction and the European Union with Drs. Steve Wolinetz and Jim Hiller of Memorial's Political Science and History departments, respectively. These courses form part of Memorial's new European studies minor, which will be an "umbrella" academic program offered at the Harlow Campus. Under this program, it is envisioned that many other university departments and faculty will make increased use of Memorial's European campus.
The revitalized campus is also prepared to welcome students and faculty from other universities. In the first such venture, Memorial's Harlow Campus will host a partnership program in business studies with the International University Germany in January 2003. Fifteen students from each institution will study collaboratively for an entire semester with professors from their home universities.
According to the chairman of the campus board of trustees, Dr. Alan Perry, the modernized campus has been worth all the hard work by university staff and contractors. "Particular credit goes to the firms of Gajjar Associates (architects) and Richard Morris Construction (main contractor)," Dr. Perry said. "The Harlow Campus has served Memorial University well over the last 33 years and with these renovations, the Harlow Campus will become a truly international campus for the next 30," he said.
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