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The Department of Nordic Research (NFI) at the University of Copenhagen is forced to rent out two floors on commercial terms. The two floors correspond to half of the department's existing area.
KUA1 is a number of relatively new buildings on South Campus, built for the University of Copenhagen in the Amager district. The buildings were completed in 2002, and were to house the many departments at the Faculty of Humanities at UCPH.
We have received approval from the Dean Ulf Hedetoft that the rental income from leasing floors five and six will be attributed to NFI.
Jytte Sander French
Now, at least one of them has to rent out 50 per cent of the department’s space to businesses. This applies to the Department of Nordic Research (NFI) at the Faculty of Humanities, which holds its premises and archives on four floors in building 27 in KUA1. The department has been hit by demands to compress its office space to save DKK 9m annually from 2019.
The faculty hopes to earn four million kroner by renting out floors four and five on the commercial market. The DKK 4m is a key part of a more comprehensive cost cut plan. “We have received approval from the Dean Ulf Hedetoft that the rental income from leasing floors five and six will be attributed to NFI,” says Jytte Sander French, department administrator at NFI.
If successful, the department only has to save DKK 2 million from 2019, as it already has found DKK 3m in savings without having to lay off employees.
Even if there is a plan, there are still unknowns.
“We do not know anything yet about when we will be seeking tenants. It all depends on when we can move our collections from the top two floors down to the basement,” says Jytte Sander.
NFI has collections of maps – which can be used for name research – notes and photo collections, and the department needs to have them digitized before they can empty the two floors for them.
The compression of the department’s working space may actually bring about something positive:
“You can say that the need to cut costs is the direct reason why we are now getting them digitized, and more people will enjoy the collections when they are on the Internet. We have for years thought of getting it done, but now we can do it so the reduction of workspace is not only a bad thing. It has a bit of good in it too,” says Jytte Sander.
Nobody knows yet who it is that will move in. UCPH describes – on the university website – the option of having entrepreneurs and small businesses rent office space or laboratory facilities at UCPH for a limited period. And in the so-called Struensee report from June 2016 describing how the Faculty of Humanities can meet the government’s austerity plans, it states that “termination of Humanities’ building 27 will result in an annual saving of DKK 9.7m”.
So even though the whole of building 27 has been targeted for cuts, it seems now to have escaped by only losing two floors. The bottom two floors, ground floor and first floor, are used by students.
The economic uncertainties that follow from the plan to save square metres, were not planned:
“It naturally came as a big surprise to us that we should save this much money. But if we otherwise get the two floors rented out, and get DKK 4m in this way from about 2018, it seems reasonable that we can save the last DKK 2m from 2019,” says Jytte Sanders.