Planning is in full swing to address all the questions that the move from Lindholmen to Johanneberg brings. After last year's pre-study, the project 'A unified campus' began the second phase of the project before the summer, and is now tasked with planning, designing, and implementing the project in stages, following the President´s decision made in February this year.
"It's great that the planning is now in progress and that we are starting to prepare ourselves to further strengthen Chalmers as a campus university," says Jörgen Blennow, Vice President of Education and Lifelong Learning. “When we gather on a unified campus, we give ourselves even better conditions to build on our fine student culture and educational environment together with the students and the student union, completely in line with Chalmers' new vision and strategy.”
In concrete terms, this means that approximately 2,500 student places and 250 employees will relocate to Johanneberg. But it is also about considering the overall campus area and the activities to be conducted there. The campus environment should support and facilitate the university´s future development. Good and suitable premises should be available for both students and staff.
“Being able to make well-informed decisions is crucial for the development of the campus area. We don't want the facilities to determine the operations; instead, it should be the expressed needs of the organisation that guide us,” says Fredrik Nilsson, Vice President of Campus and Sustainable Development, who is the project owner for 'A Unified Campus'. “Based on the pre-study, we have set up a project organisation and formed working groups including representatives from the student union, that are now working on providing the basis for decision making in their respective areas.”
The project is being run by the university while benefiting from specific project management expertise within the Chalmers Group´s own real estate company, which is needed for such a comprehensive and complex project. The overall project manager for 'A Unified Campus' is Anna Zahlbruckner, Campus Development Manager at Chalmersfastigheter, who also leads two of the working groups.
“We work closely with the relevant departments in a constructive dialogue to find good solutions”, says Anna Zahlbruckner. “The focus is on making Campus Johanneberg ready by the autumn semester of 2025 to accommodate all the university's undergraduate students. The remaining relocations are expected to be completed by 2029.”
Existing buildings cover the initial move
The main approach is to refine and improve the existing facilities at Johanneberg. This offers advantages both economically and from a sustainability perspective.
“An important thing that we can now confirm is that almost all of the premises needed for the first phase, the move in the summer of 2025, will likely be met within the existing properties on campus, in buildings owned by Chalmersfastigheter. This means that temporary solutions such as setting up pavilions for students are probably not needed”, says Anna.
Not least, vacant spaces in Chalmers Teknikpark in the southern part of the campus area offer a promising solution to meet the need for additional lecture halls and different types of study places. Here, an important hub for students can be developed, which also connects to Chalmers Fuse in SB3.
“There will also be more vibrant ground floors in our buildings, for example in the buildings around Kemigården”, says Anna. “This is achieved, among other things, through the already planned refurbishment of the Chemistry and Physics Buildings.
Placement of operations
A working group is investigating suitable locations at Johanneberg for the departments that currently have employees at Lindholmen. Progress has been made for the Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences (M2).
“We have jointly made a premises program for M2 based on their needs, the type of buildings and premises currently used, and how the department envisions it in the future”, says Anna. “Next, we will seek answers to which possible buildings on campus can best accommodate this.”
Similar work is ongoing for the Department of Communication and Learning in Science (CLS) and will soon start for the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE).
Many factors concern undergraduate education
In parallel, the undergraduate education organisation is reviewing Chalmers´ future educational offerings. A decision by the President is planned this autumn, outlining the overall direction of which programs will be offered and how many students the university should have.
An important key to the entire planning of lecture halls is scheduling. A working group is developing principles and evaluates a suitable IT tool for making simulations as a first step.
'A Unified Campus' is also involving the University of Gothenburg. Collaboration groups together with GU for common educational issues and joint departments at Lindholmen and Johanneberg have been established or are about to start their work. Student representatives are also included from both universities.
New building is being investigated
Planning for the two stages of the move will partially run in parallel. This autumn, for example, work will begin that will result in a pre-study on new construction at Johanneberg, where a sub-working group is intended to investigate a possible new laboratory building.
“Many are requesting new labs, and we need to evaluate the needs and possible solutions”, says Fredrik Nilsson. “This year's campus planning dialogues with the departments are now completed and have provided valuable input, which will also contribute to the upcoming revision of the campus plan.”
Both Anna´s and Fredrik´s impression is that much of the initial concern about the move, which quite naturally may have existed in the organisation, is now increasingly turning into participation and anticipation of the new. Although there are still challenges to be addressed and unanswered questions.
“An important message is that a unified campus does not just concern the people who will be moving. This applies to all of us. In the future, we will activate and experience our entire campus area in a different way than today. Together, we create the environment we want to have on campus."