Construction work has begun on the new European Center for Geological Education, located in Chęciny, in the Świętokrzyskie district. First foundations were laid in June and the complex is due to be completed in 11 months.
The area of Holy Cross Mountains (Góry Świętokrzyskie) have long been used by the UW Faculty of Geology as a field training site. Until now the students have been making use of a centre situated in Bocheniec. The new research base, on the other hand, will be located near the town of Chęciny, 12 km to the east. Not only will it provide better laboratory services and housing conditions; it will also offer the geologists unique surroundings thanks to the vicinity of the oldest surface rocks in Poland.
The centre will bring together teachers and students from the University of Warsaw, as well as from other Polish and foreign academic centres.
Five in one
The building will occupy the site of the abandoned Korzecko quarry, located in the Góra Rzepka rock reserve. It will consist of five blocks of similar shape and size, connected to each other by underpasses. The architects’ guiding principle was to design a form that fits in the landscape. As we read on the website of WXCA, the company responsible for the project, ‘the cuboidal, dense, economical in their form buildings were designed in the shape of stone blocks emerging from the rocky hill’.
The complex will cover a space of 6,500 m². The main representative building will include a reception, a canteen and a big conference hall with one wall integrated with the exposed rocks. The second building, dedicated to laboratory and academic purposes, will include labs and lecture halls. The students will find there chemical and geophysical labs, a lab where they will be able to prepare geological samples, or the one specifically destined to geological mapping. The remaining three buildings will serve as a residence for teachers, students and invited guests.
The centre would not come into existence if it wasn’t for the scientific support of the University of Warsaw, the land offered by the Chęciny municipality or the European funds coming from the Regional Programme for Świętokrzyskie Voivodeship. The final agreement between the University and the voivodeship authorities was signed on 14 October 2013.
Before the construction started, the site needed to be prepared and the status of the land regulated. ‘It turned out the vast deposits of dolomite and calcite, now abandoned, but exploited in the ’70s and the’80s, in the register still appeared as natural resources. For this reason we needed to gather some additional documentation,’ explains Piotr Ziółkowski, Rector’s Representative for Investment in Chęciny.
The building is expected to be open to the public by autumn 2015.