To improve the transport accessibility to St Petersburg University campus, an express tram service will be opened. It is planned to build the campus in the Pushkinsky district of St Petersburg. The project was discussed during roundtable talks with representatives of St Petersburg City Administration.

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‘There are plans for construction of the Southern latitudinal highway, for reconstruction of the Kolpinsky highway, as well as for the design and construction of a tramline along the “Kupchino – Shushary – Slavyanka” route. These are the current possibilities,’ explained Viacheslav Petrov, Head of the Prospective Development department of the St Petersburg Committee for Development of Transport Infrastructure. ‘Naturally, the implementation of such a large project as the construction of the St Petersburg University Campus will require significant development of transport infrastructure. This can also be regarded as an impetus for implementation of large infrastructure projects that will greatly improve transport accessibility not only of the University Campus but also of the whole Pushkinsky district.’

Professor Ivan Uralov is certain that the best architects from around the world are to be involved in designing the University Campus. Professor Uralov is the Head of the Department of Fine Arts and Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Arts at St Petersburg University. For 10 years he served as the Main Artist and the Deputy Chairman of the Committee for Urban Planning and Architecture of St Petersburg. Ivan Uralov has proposed the launch of a competition for young professionals – students of leading universities for architecture in Russia – to design the architectural image of the new campus.

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‘We need to create a completely new space – not just a few clusters of detached and beautifully situated buildings that serve a range of different functions,’ emphasised Ivan Uralov. ‘First of all, we should keep in mind that we have a chance to create a completely innovative organic complex, similar to a neural network. There will be nodes and communication links that will enable us to realise the dream of creating an interdisciplinary and universal space. Unless we want the University to become a museum, a historical monument that just needs preservation, we have to make decisions.’

Mikhail Kudilinsky, Vice-Rector for Economic Development of St Petersburg University, spoke about the concept of a new campus of St Petersburg University.

The implementation of the project will enable the provision of all necessary conditions for study and work of 25,000 students, 4,000 research and academic staff, and 1,000 research and technical personnel.

Additionally, the campus will house the University clinic, sports facilities, and infrastructure for extracurricular activities and socially significant events. There is also a project to create a technological park for: implementation of university innovations; high-tech manufacturing; laboratories; and testing centres.

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‘Speaking about student accommodation, there will be 25,000 dormitory places and almost 400,000 square metres,’ said Mikhail Kudilinsky. ‘More importantly, the dormitories are designed for all students, since the campus model implies the possibility that all students could live there. This includes residents of St Petersburg and the Leningrad region. Additionally, campus housing for faculty and staff will be provided, as well as the opportunity of purchasing a residential property near the University campus on preferential terms.

Mikhail Kudilinsky stressed that the ‘eviction’ of the University from historical buildings in the central part of St Petersburg is not on the agenda.

Nor will this issue arise upon completion of the University campus. The university buildings that meet the norms and standards of educational facilities will be used for educational activities.

For reference, in 2013, upon special instructions of the Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev, an interdepartmental working group was created to prepare proposals for the development and location of a new St Petersburg University campus. The group was headed by the Minister of Economic Development. During this stage, many suggestions on how the University campus should look were made. Many of them were used in the development of the concept. Based on the proposals of the interdepartmental working group, on 18 September 2019, Dmitry Medvedev gave instructions to allocate funds for design work on the new campus of St Petersburg University. The construction works are scheduled for 2022–2026. The campus and the technological park are to be located in the Pushkinsky district of St Petersburg, since the site meets all the requirements of the general concept.

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‘We certainly support the project,’ said Vera Semenova, First Deputy Head of the Pushkinsky District Administration. ‘At present, the problems that the district faces are being solved. The construction of the University campus – a large-scale project of federal significance – is bound to create conditions for an accelerated solution, first and foremost, to transport problems, and also to infrastructure problems in the district.’

The new campus will be situated on the territory of at least 150 hectares, while the technological park will occupy an area of at least 100 hectares. The estimated cost of the facilities is 45 billion roubles, of which 19 billion are allocated from the federal budget funds, and 26 billion are investors funds.

The Acting Deputy Chairman of St Petersburg Investment Committee Maxim Sharipov noted that it is planned that the campus will house one of the largest medical centres in the North-West of Russia – St Petersburg University clinic – as part of a public-private partnership. ‘In our opinion, the concept of a campus is very attractive for investors, it has a high development potential,’ the speaker added. The Chairman of St Petersburg Investment Committee Roman Golovanov stressed that a number of financial institutions are willing to invest in the development of this area today.

The Senior Vice-Rector of St Petersburg University, Elena Chernova, noted that the new campus will enable the solution of a range of problems that the University faces today. According to Elena Chernova, the project does not imply that all academic programmes will be implemented on the new campus at the same time. ‘These matters will be considered sequentially, sensibly and when the need arises,’ she emphasised. ‘Nonetheless, the opportunity for the development of interdisciplinary research using the most modern equipment will be provided to all. This is a truly unique chance for the University.’ She also remarked that at present it is difficult to say what professions will be in demand in the next 10 to 15 years. However, students and research scientists studying and working in close proximity will enable the needs of the future labour market to be modelled and a prompt response given to its requests.

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