The University is considering “the potential for a stand-alone conference venue that could be created by the Albany Park development” according to the minutes of the latest University Court meeting.
The proposal was discussed on 7 April as part of plans for the University to increase its commercial income through Residential and Business services.
A spokesperson for the University told The Saint that the plans would not affect the availability of accommodation for students
“Far from diminishing student accommodation these proposals would form part of our wider Accommodation Strategy, which will provide 900 additional bed spaces,” they said.
The spokesperson also said that proposals for the development of Albany Park, St Andrews’ least expensive student hall which will be demolished and rebuilt as part of the University’s plan, would not increase the costs of accommodation for students.
“A range of student rents will be available, and substantial bursary and support packages are in place to assist with costs.
“These plans have been developed hand-in-hand with student representatives to ensure student needs are met.”
Speaking to The Saint, Linsey Welshman, the senior student on the Albany Park Hall Committee, expressed concerns about the idea.
“I can see the benefits of a conference centre in raising money for the University and providing jobs for students over summer,” she said.
Ms Welshman added, “However I would be seriously concerned about the fact that land that could be used to build affordable housing could be used to build a conference centre instead, especially considering the affordable housing shortages that St Andrews already faces.”
The court also discussed ambitions to create summer school courses within the University.