UAE’s education going strong despite COVID-19 outbreak

Contractors working on education projects in the region have marked significant progress on their developments

Education projects across the Middle East are gathering momentum
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Education projects across the Middle East are gathering momentum

Despite an evident slump across businesses globally due to the challenges associated with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is refreshing to note the progress on education projects in the region.

UAE’s educational institutions have identified an increased influx of local applicants, owing to the global travel restrictions associated with the pandemic, and have tapped into the “opportunity”.

The Myriad Dubai, which is a 68,000m2 student housing community in the heart of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), is 90% complete and is set to welcome students in September 2020.

Speaking about the development, Vikram Rao, who is the chief executive officer of the developer working on the project, Strategic Housing Group, said: “We believe the student housing community will meet the clear shortage of purpose-built student housing in a consistently expanding higher education market in Dubai, especially during these times where it is more favourable for students to study within the UAE.”

Furthermore, UK-headquartered contractor ISG recently completed Phase 1 of University of Wollongong Dubai’s (UOWD) new campus in Dubai Knowledge Park.

As part of the first phase, ISG has handed over levels one, three, four, and six within the seven-storey structure to the university.

ISG began work on the site in November 2019. UOWD’s “campus of the future” is scheduled to be delivered ahead of the start of the new academic year in September 2020.

The building’s interiors have been designed by Woods Bagot and project management services are being delivered by Abu Dhabi-based consultancy Alexander Mac.

Other stakeholders involved include Cundall and C&B, among others as project consultants.

Going strong and paving the way forward for education in the region is Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), which aims to open four new schools in the emirate during the 2020-21 academic year, across different areas, which include Abu Hail, Dubai Silicon Oasis, Jebel Ali, and Al Rashidiya.

Dubai-based British architectural and design firm Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) recently marked completion on The Arcadia School’s Secondary Campus, as part of a series of community-based schools for Arcadia Education.

The campus covers a total teaching space of 6,000m2, including the classrooms, shared learning, and labs. Other facilities within the campus include a library as well as music and dance rooms that jointly span an area of 1,500m2.

In an exclusive conversation with Construction Week, partner at GAJ, Jason Burnside, stated that the design concept of the campus focuses on “creating open spaces to encourage and foster social interaction.”

UAE-based contracting giant Khansaheb was appointed by TECOM Group as the main contractor for the University of Birmingham in Dubai International Academic City, and is hard at work to create a new-build university campus. The project win is marked as one among the contractor’s successes over the past 12 months and is part of the new contracts it was awarded during the period, worth $381.1m (AED 1.4bn).

The contractor earned another university project with the interior fit-out contract for Heriot-Watt University, Dubai Campus. The university aims to relocate to the new campus in January 2021 in Dubai Knowledge Park.

UAE’s education sector is on its way to create futuristic cities, as opposed to traditional campuses, for its students.

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