IT will transform the West End of Glasgow into a ‘museum quarter’ and create thousands of jobs.
And Glasgow University bosses say their £1billion project to expand the campus over the next 10 years will put the whole city on the world map.
The university has plans to revolutionise traditional teaching methods. They want to replace lecture theatres with new interactive hubs as well as a teaching and learning centre.
But there is also an emphasis on making the west of the city a tourist magnet.
There are plans to create a civic square which would link up with the Kelvin Hall, the Kelvingrove Museum and stretch to the Hydro arena.
Higher education chiefs will receive the keys to the former Western Infirmary site, bounded by Dumbarton Road, Church Street and University Place, at the beginning of April.
A consultation with members of the public and locals in the area will begin at the end of this month.
Around 2500 jobs are expected to be created.
Professor Anton Muscatelli, principal of the university, said: “We’re in the process of completing a mass planning exercise which will look at how the site - not just the Western Infirmary but the whole of Gilmorehill - will be redeveloped.
“That will go out to consultation sometime at the end of February or March so that will be a good opportunity for people to engage and begin to see what the plan will look at.
“From the university’s perspective it will be a learning and teaching hub, which is around creating a state of the art facility for our students to have both formal teaching spaces and also in less formal learning spaces using the latest technology.”
The new generation of lecture rooms will have natural lighting and they will not have fixed seating, meaning staff will be able to walk among students.
Students will be able to ask questions and get direct feedback through digital screens.
The university also wants to build on the city’s reputation for hosting conferences and give something back to the community.
Mr Muscatelli said: “It’s also about attracting conferences because Glasgow is obviously such a magnet for conferences.
“And it’s also about creating a site that the community will be able to use as well as students.”
The first phase of the work is due to be completed by 2018. Following that will be a new research hub.
Mr Muscatelli said: “Basically it brings all our top research together and will attract industries to come and bring some of their innovation to Glasgow.
“There will also be new homes for our various colleges - arts, social sciences and we’re also expanding our presence in health and wellbeing and chronic disease.
“Glasgow University is one of the best in the world in areas trying to address cancer, heart disease, arthritis, these are the sort of chronic disease we do well in and this is what we are trying to expand as well.”
The new civic square at the old Western Infirmary site will be open to the public.
Mr Muscatelli said: “It’s about creating a whole a space that the city and the west end can be proud of. We would create a brand new square at the heart of the western site which would hopefully draw in the West End community and create an attractive civic feature.
“Kelvin Hall will be opening this year so we’re looking forward to that collaboration with Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland.
“I think it would make a really fantastic cultural place for the city. It would give Glasgow, in that area, a museum district that’s only second to London.”
The cash for the ambitious project will come from the university and a funding drive will be launched.
Mr Muscatelli said: “That will be funded from our own resources, from our own income. We think it’s a prudent plan. We’re also planning philanthropic campaign.”
Bosses also hope they can pull in commercial interest.
Mr Muscatelli said: “It could be retail, it could be a hotel - those sorts of things that reinforce the city’s West End as a tourist destination.”
The proposals have been welcomed by the community.
Glasgow Kelvin SNP MSP Sandra White said: “It is an absolutely fantastic project and it involves opening the university up to the whole community.
“It’s a great idea to open up that area of Byres Road right down to the river front.”
Hillhead Councillor Martin McElroy said: “Developing the old Western site is hugely important for businesses and jobs in the West End.
“Having seen the plans I am looking forward to seeing work getting started. Whilst there is still a bit of consultation to be completed with local people and businesses it is an exciting prospect to have such a significant investment.
“Glasgow has long been renowned for our publicly accessible and high quality museums. The development of a museum district has the potential to build on this heritage and to make our city an even more attractive destination for tourism.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow City Marketing Bureau, said: “We’re delighted to welcome this £1billion expansion plan from the University of Glasgow which will create an innovative template for universities around the globe to adopt.
“Not only will this robust regeneration project create local jobs but it will have a significant and direct impact on Glasgow’s economy.
“This announcement further reinforces the University of Glasgow’s credentials as one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions.”