More than a handful of new college buildings, accommodation blocks and leisure facilities are due to be opened at Qatar University (QU) this year.
The facilities are part of a QR5 billion plan to overhaul QU’s Duhail campus to accommodate thousands more students.
Work has been ongoing since the five-year master plan was launched in 2014.
At that time, the university said the revamp would help it cater to up to 25,000 students by 2019. It currently has 17,000 students enrolled in programs across its nine colleges.
In the coming three years, QU will spend around QR3 billion on projects to upgrade and expand its facilities, Ibrahim Yousuf Al Fakhroo, QU’s director of Capital Projects Affairs told QNA this week.
New dorms, colleges
Facilities that will open this year include on-site housing blocks for male and female students.
The dorms will have 668 rooms that accommodate a total of 1,000 students.
This should reduce the university’s spend on renting accommodation across the city, Al Fakhroo said.
There will also be new housing for visiting members of faculty. This will include 208 apartments, a gym and a club for the use of staff and students.
Meanwhile, a new building for the College of Pharmacy will be inaugurated this year, three years after construction began.
And a new building for management students within the College of Business and Economics is also set to open this year.
Joining it, the university’s oldest college, education, will get upgraded facilities that will be “inaugurated soon,” Al Fakhroo said.
And a new Early Childhood Center will be opening its doors during 2017.
Additionally, work on dedicated facilities for College of Law students is underway, he added.
When the five-year plan was first launched, there was also proposals for a new complex to house the College of Engineering.
To tackle the university’s parking crunch, a new, multi-story car park for 2,000 vehicles will also open sometime this year.
In addition, a traffic study is being conducted to assess current and future needs of students and faculty members as they navigate the 5.5 million sq m site in the north of the city.
The upcoming facilities are not all about studying.
Work is also underway on a new student affairs complex that will include recreation and sports areas as well as restaurants and shops, the university official said.
And, in the coming months, tenders will go out for the construction of sports and events facilities including stadiums that can be used to host competitions.
These projects are in addition to new study halls that opened in September 2015, providing extra space for 3,600 students.
The completion of these new facilities appears to have fallen somewhat behind initial schedules. They were planned to open last year.
Under pressure from the local community to take more students, particularly Qataris, QU has been expanding its intake in recent years.
The Class of 2016 was the largest-ever cohort of graduating students from the university.
Meanwhile, last March the university relaxed its admissions standards to make it easier for undergraduate students to get accepted into its programs.
And just a few months earlier, it revised its academic probation policies to make it easier for struggling students to boost their grade point averages and obtain a college degree.