Qatar University (QU) is undertaking a major expansion of its campus in order to open its doors for up to 25,000 students by 2019.
As part of a five-year master plan, the publicly-funded university will spend much of its QR500,000,000 facilities budget renovating or constructing 11 new buildings to cope with increased demand from students for places.
As Qatar’s national university, QU has come under pressure in the past to admit more Qatari students, as some members of the local community have criticized its admissions policies and required standards for new students as too high.
Students have also previously complained that their peers at Education City, which houses a number of foreign universities, have access to better facilities.
QU’s student body has increased rapidly in recent years and currently numbers some 15,000 people.
But as the numbers rise, there has been increased pressure on existing university facilities, with a lack of car parking spaces close to classrooms being one of the main complaints among students.
Under the expansion program, coordinated by the university’s Business Operations Department (BOD), a new multi-story car park will be built by February 2016, with enough space for 2,500 cars.
Four new college buildings will also be constructed over the next two years. There will be a dedicated building for the College of Pharmacy, while the College of Law and College of Education – QU’s oldest college – will also soon get purpose-built facilities.
A new engineering building is also under construction. Accommodating up to 1,200 students, the facility will feature classrooms, two auditoriums and an outdoor amphitheater. All four colleges are expected to be finished by April 2016.
Other key developments currently under construction include new staff and student housing blocks, due for completion in January next year; and new faculty offices that are scheduled to be ready in November of this year.
The majority of the QU student body is Qatari. The university is particularly popular with female students as it operates a segregated campus for male and female students at the undergraduate level.
This is why a significant expansion of male and female classrooms is also planned. A 21,000sqm facility is expected to open in April next year, while the university’s new Early Childhood Center building is slated for completion by October 2015.
Many of the new buildings will be constructed to the north of the university’s campus, adjacent to the recently-built Business and Economics building and new library.
The university’s new research complex is also nearby. This site of nearly 20,000sqm aims to bring together all of QU’s research departments under one roof and has six research blocks with offices and laboratories, as well as an animal research center.
Abdulla Yacoub Al-Sayed, the BOD’s executive chief, has outlined other developments to the campus, including creating more green space to reduce the effects of Qatar’s searing summer heat. Speaking to Doha News, he said:
“These facilities and infrastructure developments will serve to transform QU into a more connected environment and will provide students with services and resources that will contribute in no small measure to their academic, research and extra-curricular experience on the campus.”
Security measures will be stepped up, with the installation of automatic number plate reading technology that will scan the number plates of all cars entering the campus, and CCTV cameras monitoring the university’s perimeter fence.
Note: This article has been corrected to reflect the true budget of the expansion and to clarify QU’s status.