Department of Biology: Plans for new buildings are further delayed

The next round in the almost never-ending story of the new building of the university’s biology department at Lahnberge: at the behest of the Ministry of Finance, the university management ordered an expert opinion to examine whether the old chemical building complex could be reused as an alternative to the new biology building. This was announced to the OP upon request by the President of the University of Marburg, Professor Thomas Nauss.

Until moving to a new building in 2015, the chemistry department was located in these buildings of the Marburg construction system from the sixties of the last century. A feasibility study commissioned in 2008 showed that renovating the old chemical building was not economical. However, they are under monument protection and therefore not allowed to be demolished.

The President of the University is skeptical about the conversion

In talking to the OP, Nauss was skeptical about whether the new report could show that the biology department could repurpose the old chemistry building. “The requirements for laboratories have evolved a lot,” Nauss pointed out. However, the ministry requirement must be met first.

If the expert report rejects the possible subsequent use of biology, only then can planning for the implementation of the new building move forward, Nauss said. Time is of the essence, as the President is well aware. Because among the professors at the Department of Biology, a generational change is currently in full swing. “With each new appointment we have the challenge of extensive renovation of the old building, until there is a new building,” explains Nauss. Because new professors must be provided with new research areas and laboratories.

Meanwhile, two years ago, it almost seemed like the state government’s “Eureka” program would have enough money to begin planning a new building for the Department of Biology. But that hope was then dashed, much to the annoyance of Nauss’s predecessor, Professor Katharina Krause, who for years had urgently called for the building to be built.

If a new building is now an option, then the university management’s plan calls for a construction site right next to the current biology building. Current cost estimates for such a new building are 124 million euros. A possible schedule could be made in the second half of the year. However, it must be expected that it could be at least four to five years before a final execution is reported, Nauss says. That would likely be 2027 at the university’s 500th anniversary at the earliest.

The old chemistry is a listed building

By the way, as for the old chemistry, which is under monument protection, the president of the university advocates that only a selected part of the building complex be left as an example for the buildings of the Marburg system, and that the rest be demolished. However, no decision has been made for years on how to deal with the facilities. In principle, the state government would have to decide on this in consultation with representatives of the monument protection and the university.

By Manfred Heatroth

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