The positive news about the development of the campus idea in Buchs has been pouring over the last few days. On the one hand, the Foundation Board of Switzerland Innovation has applied to the Federal Council for Buchs to become a location for the Innovations Park Ost, and on the other hand, the citizens of Buchs approved an investment credit of 1.5 million Swiss francs without discussion at the ordinary citizens' meeting. This is to be used to redesign Hanflandstrasse so that the bzb Buchs and the Fachhochschule OST are physically connected. A campus motel is to be built as the centrepiece. The project was presented by the NTB Study Foundation a few weeks ago. This initiative of a private organisation is welcomed by the Department of Education of the Canton of St.Gallen. "For the development of Buchs as an educational location, a campus motel located directly next to the university building is fundamentally advantageous and worthy of support," says Jürg Raschle, Secretary General of the Department of Education, and continues, "as we know from national and international experience, the spatial connection "study, housing, meet, live" contributes significantly to the attractiveness of a location for both students and lecturers."
Negotiations between the canton, the municipality of Buchs and the NTB Study Foundation are necessary so that the motel can be realised at the Buchs campus. The land on which the motel is to be built belongs to the canton and the town. "The foundation must seek a building right," explains Claudia Eugster, Head of Departmental Communications at the Building Department of the Canton of St.Gallen. These negotiations have not yet begun. However, the Department of Education, the Department of Economic Affairs and the Department of Construction are all aware of the project. "The Building Department supports the NTB Study Foundation in the architectural competition for the Campus Motel. Cantonal architect Michael Fischer was a substitute jury member," Claudia Eugster explains further. Parallel to the building lease negotiations, the building project from the architecture competition is being fleshed out. For his part, Cantonal Councillor and Director of Economic Affairs Beat Tinner emphasised the importance of research and innovation at a recent public event. These are important drivers for the economy. The Innovation Park East is correspondingly important. Not least for the RhySearch research and innovation centre in Buchs.
Buchs Town President Daniel Gut is confident that the current drive will be taken up to strengthen the Buchs Campus and thus the economic region: "We all have the same goal and must now determine the path to get there together and follow it." On the part of St.Gallen's Director of Construction Susanne Hartmann, the Director of Education Stefan Kölliker and the Director of Economic Affairs Beat Tinner, Daniel Gut was able to receive expressions of support in personal talks. "The added value of the Campus Motel and the close cooperation between education, research, business and the social part has been recognised. Now it's time to get down to business and develop the Buchs campus further," says Daniel Gut. The Buchs town council already included the vision in the town's master plan ten years ago. Now it is to be realised in big steps.
The concrete construction project "Campus Motel" was included in the real estate planning of the University of Applied Sciences of Eastern Switzerland OST in August 2020. "For the government of the Canton of St.Gallen, the Buchs location with the systems engineering course and the management of the by far largest department "Technology" located there is an indispensable component of the OST and thus of the educational landscape of Eastern Switzerland," says Jürg Raschle, Secretary General of the Department of Education. The Buchs location is well positioned. Especially in view of the need for highly qualified workers in the important industrial region of the Rhine Valley. The building department emphasises that the Buchs site will retain a high status in the cantonal as well as in the national landscape of universities of applied sciences: "In the medium to long term, the canton will renovate buildings of the Ost at the Buchs site." Buchs, and especially the area around the vocational school, the University of Applied Sciences and the Fegeren area, will continue to gain importance as a location for innovation, research and business. Just as the various cantonal departments, the town and private initiators are now working hand in hand, so should the bzb, Ost, RhySearch and the business community in the future. Because together they will gain in strength and attractiveness for students, lecturers and ultimately also for investors and skilled workers.
Caption: The motel at the Buchs campus is to become the centrepiece. The building project from the architectural competition is currently being fleshed out. In addition, negotiations regarding the building rights will take place soon. Visualisation: Carlos Martinez Architects