Science Senator Ulrike Gote (Greens) wants to work with the universities to draw up a master plan for the renovation of their buildings. Gote announced this to the Tagesspiegel. “I think that’s important, so that we know: This is the path that the state of Berlin wants to take.”
The science administration will analyze the development plans submitted by the universities. This should be included in a state university location development plan. “We then sit down at a table and talk about sensible prioritization. And then we have to be honest with the finance senator about what works and what doesn’t,” said Gote. She sees herself on the side of the universities.
As reported, the presidents and rectors expect a total investment requirement of up to seven billion euros. Gote considers the sum to be “not unrealistic” when you consider that a need of more than three billion euros for the pure renovation of the buildings was already identified in 2018 and the costs have increased massively since then.
In addition, the total investment requirements determined by the universities include sustainability measures, modernization, development projects and new research buildings. Your administration will check the volume itself again, says Gote.
The university management had criticized in the Tagesspiegel that the necessary renovations were progressing too slowly, that they were sometimes being postponed arbitrarily and that the universities did not have enough freedom to implement building projects.
Gote said that she herself does not see the demands as massive criticism, but rather as support. The universities are right: “What they are demanding is part of the coalition agreement, is part of government policy. We want to get rid of the renovation backlog – even if that cannot be done in one legislative period.”
She needs strong universities at her side, “who clearly formulate their urgent needs for their teaching and research tasks, so that I can also demand this in the Senate”.
The senator named several points that she wanted to address. It is true that the construction processes should be faster. “Here we have to see what we can do from an administrative point of view.” She also agrees with the demand to leave the building owner to the universities more often. Ultimately, however, the House of Representatives must decide on this.
In any case, the number of projects that the universities are responsible for implementing on their own has already grown significantly. The previous limit of five million euros, up to which the building administration of a university can take over the building management without the consent of the House of Representatives, should in fact “not be such a rigid criterion”. Gote said she was glad that the universities wanted to continue taking responsibility for this.
She now wants to implement a six-point plan that was already presented under the old Senate and agreed with the universities, which is intended to facilitate and promote the renovation and construction of the universities: “There is no point where I say that this is completely possible in the wrong direction, on the contrary.”
Gote reminded that projects with a total cost of around 1.4 billion euros are currently under construction and planning at the eleven Berlin universities. In addition, there are the projects of the Charité. “That’s not to say we’re already doing everything – but we’re doing a lot.
In terms of volume, Berlin doesn’t have to hide. She wanted to find out “in concert with other countries” to what extent the federal government could be persuaded to implement a program for university renovations. A Berlin Federal Council initiative is not planned for the time being. This requires longer and more intensive discussions.