The Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich has announced plans to transform its Hönggerberg campus into a "Science City".
On Wednesday the institute revealed that the project, scheduled for completion by 2010, is expected to cost SFr400 million ($305 million).
According to the institute, SFr250 million will be spent on the construction of new buildings, while SFr150 million is to be invested in scientific equipment.
“We want to remain one of the best universities in Europe and indeed the world,” said the institute’s president, Olaf Kübler.
Plans for the new facility include a congress centre, state-of-the-art laboratories, a sports hall, accommodation for around 1,000 students as well as restaurants and shops.
When completed, more than 10,000 students and researchers are expected to make use of the campus facilities in Hönggerberg.
The project is still in the development stage and a definitive schedule is due to be finalised in September. Building work is not expected to begin before 2005.
A Zurich entrepreneur, 75-year-old Branco Weiss, has donated SFr23 million towards the cost of building a new Information Science laboratory.
“I have been involved with the Federal Institute for more than 50 years and I wanted to do something useful for it – and my money is definitely well spent on the new research lab for information sciences,” said Weiss during a ceremony earlier this month.
The facilities will offer workspace for 480 scientists, including physicists, biologists and chemists. Space will also be provided for around 750 students.
“Universities and research centres are constantly developing and Science City is one of the ways that we have come up with to remain in the top ten,” Kübler said.
Gerhard Schmitt, vice-president of the institute’s planning and logistics unit, said the project would extend the surface of the existing campus by up to 15 per cent.
Switzerland’s other Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne is not directly involved in the development of Science City.
However, the institute based in the French-speaking part of the country said it was monitoring developments in Zurich.
“We very much hope that the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich will succeed with its extremely ambitious project,” said spokesman Nicolas Henchoz.
For its part, the institute in Lausanne is promoting itself as a focal point for space research and development in Switzerland.
The institute, which counts among its staff the country’s only astronaut, Claude Nicollier, is expected to announce shortly the official launch of a new “Space Center”.
Science City is scheduled for completion by 2010.
The total cost of the project is estimated at SFr400 million.
A definitive building schedule is due to be finalised in September.
In compliance with the JTI standards