Dear Colleagues,

The National and Kapodistrian University of Athens (NKUA), by virtue of being the oldest University in Greece with 185 years of history, owns buildings of more than 700,000 square metres (sqm) and spreads across areas totalling over 2 million sqm. Developing new infrastructures and upgrading the quality of the existing ones are high on its list of priorities. Such initiatives, however, call for a set of procedures that include specific steps, namely mapping and identifying needs, budgeting, consulting with a sometimes overly bureaucratic administration, finding funding sources, funding, time planning, monitoring, implementation, and final incorporation of the end result into the Institution’s regular academic life.

This present document summarizes the activities of the University Authorities concerning building infrastructures. So, from 2015 through to 2019, were completed and are fully operational:

  • the Library of the School of Law,
  • the Library of the School of Philosophy,
  • the building of the School of Medicine at the Attikon General University Hospital of Athens,
  • the building of the School of Law at the corner of Akadimias and Sina streets, which was repaired with the support of the Martinos Foundation,
  • the new building of the University History Museum in the Plaka neighbourhood of Athens (Tholou street), and
  • the Archaeology and History of Art Museum at the School of Philosophy, which was renovated and upgraded in preparation for receiving a significant donation of ancient artefacts from the Martinos Foundation.

Due to chronic underfunding, a concerted effort has been underway to considerably reduce the space that University Units and Departments lease, make optimum use of bequests, and obtain funding from Public Benefit Foundations. None of this would have been possible without the support of the Technical Services, the Senate, the Technical Council, the Special Account for Research Grants, and the Administrative and Financial Services for the case-by-case use of the Public Investment Programme.

From 2019 through to the first quarter of 2023 the following were completed or are currently in the process of being completed:

  • the big project on waterproofing and leak-sealing several buildings of our University,
  • the commissioning of additional studies on the electrical upgrade and fire safety of all NKUA buildings,
  • the improvement of accessibility for people with disabilities,
  • the development of two sizeable blocks for University teaching and research purposes on the 3,600 sqm Mikras Asias st. property in the Goudi area of Athens (across from the School of Medicine and next to the Department of Nursing and the Library of the School of Health Sciences),
  • the study for the extension to the General Hospital of Athens ‘Laiko with the construction of a new wing on University-owned land. The new wing will join the hospital’s existing facilities to house the University Departments and Laboratories working there,
  • the new hospital facility in the complex of the Aretaieio and Aiginiteio Hospitals with the addition of three new floors, the refurbishment of the ground floor for the teaching and research needs of the Aiginiteio Hospital, and the remodelling of the basement to accommodate the CyberKnife. It is important to note that all projects involving our University Hospitals ‘Aretaieio’ and ‘Aiginiteio’ are funded by the Greek Ministry of Education’s Public Investment Programme and carried out with the assistance of the University of Athens’ Technical Council and Technical Services,
  • the contract award and the beginning of construction on a new building for the NKUA’s School of Dentistry,
  • the improvement of lighting efficiency through the introduction of LED bulbs and the upgrade of street lighting at the Zografou University Campus,
  • the naming of the main streets of the Zografou University Campus. Existing streets now have a new identity, and getting around campus is much simpler thanks to this plan, which is a fitting tribute to significant figures in the history of our University,
  • the recurrent infrastructure maintenance works (power packs, failures, etc.),
  • the recently inaugurated new building of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science,
  • the extensive renovation of the School of Philosophy’s former study rooms and their conversion into functional office, teaching, and research spaces,
  • the restoration of the open-air amphitheatre of the School of Theology,
  • the embellishment, improvement of infrastructures, and renovation of offices, study rooms, and the museum of the School of Theology,
  • the creation of infrastructure for the supply of centralized research resources (core facilities),
  • the works for the energy upgrade and radical renovation of Block B of the NKUA Student Halls of Residence,
  • the upgrade of the Evripos Campus’ building complex and instructional resources,
  • the study for a new building for the School of Physical Education and Sport Science at the Zografou Campus,
  • the renovation of the current building of the School of Physical Education and Sport Science at Dafni, Athens, with improvements to the sports facilities, the surrounding area, and the accessibility for people with disabilities,
  • the works for the radical renovation and promotion of the iconic ‘Old Chemistry Laboratory’ building (Library of the School of Law – Museum),
  • the works for the upgrade of the University Club, the main focus being the renovation and opening of the educational and cultural hall ‘IRIS’ and the provision of offices to School of Education faculty members,
  • the works for the renovation, maintenance, and promotion of the iconic Maraslean Teaching Centre of the School of Education and its conversion into a location for undergraduate and postgraduate classes and research,
  • the radical renovation of the ‘New Chemistry Laboratory’ building, which houses the School of Education,
  • the construction of a four-storey library facility for the School of Education on Methonis street, Athens,
  • the construction of a new office block for the School of Education at the intersection of Mavromichali and Valtetsiou streets, Athens, and
  • the purchase of property on Ippokratous street for the teaching and research needs of the School of Economics and Political Sciences.

By its own decision, the Senate has proposed the following, and anticipates a positive outcome for funding from the competent authorities:

  • the increase in height of the building of the Department of Nursery by two additional storeys,
  • the renovation and upgrade of the Laboratories of the School of Science,
  • the renovation and upgrade of the Laboratories of the School of Health Sciences,
  • the radical renovation and upgrade of the iconic building of the School of Theology,
  • the commissioning of a study for the increase in height above the first floor and the construction of an underground garage at the new blocks across from the School of Medicine, as well as a study for additional spaces in the complex of the Aretaieio and Aiginiteio Hospitals,
  • the construction of a new building for the Special Account for Research Grants,
  • the upgrade of the study rooms and the Library of the School of Philosophy (through also a donation) as well as the upgrade of the surrounding area of the School of Philosophy’s ‘AULA’ Amphitheatre, and
  • the energy upgrade of the Grypareion Hall of the School of Economics and Political Sciences.

Finally, I would like to emphasize that, in addition to major projects like new buildings or large-scale renovations, hundreds of smaller projects have been implemented or are currently underway to maintain, improve, and upgrade the University of Athens’ entire building infrastructure. Our constant pursuit is a quality and extroverted Public University, within society and its needs, for our students, faculty members, and all our employees. But this pursuit, to be more than simply a wish or a pronouncement, must be realized through everyday hard work, initiatives, and actions that foster the University we desire.

I wish to thank the competent in each case Vice-rector, the Deans, the Supervisors, all faculty members assisting with infrastructure efforts, and the Heads and staff of the administrative services who have collaborated directly or indirectly to put on track all the above projects. Despite significantly reduced funding for NKUA compared to the past and in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic, we worked–and continue doing so–creatively. With vision, experience, and organized, steady steps, we aim at the ongoing upgrade of our University.

 Thanos Dimopoulos

Rector of NKUA