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July 2008 – IE Business School is set to invest around €14 million in the former convent of Santa Cruz la Real in Segovia to convert the building and the adjoining land into an international business university equipped with state-of-the-art technology. The project aims to make IE University a European benchmark for quality.
The venue chosen for IE’s university project is the former convent of Santa Cruz la Real, a building which was declared a national monument in 1931 and is one of the architectural gems of the city of Segovia. The restoration project for the building, which is located by the city wall and is very close to the aqueduct, was presented at a press conference in July by Miguel Sagüés, IE University’s managing director, and the architects Fernando Serrano-Suñer and Ismael Rodriguez.
The whole restoration project involves five phases which will take in the building’s 18,000 m² surface area, in addition to a plot of land covering 30,000 m² adjacent to the former convent. Restoration work began a year ago on the communal areas of the ground floor such as the cloister, the chapterhouse, the refectory hall and the dormitories. This summer, work will focus on the university’s lecture halls and include fitting automated lighting and sound systems in order to save energy while respecting the structure of the building. According to the architect, Fernando Serrano-Suñer, work on each of these two phases will cover a surface area of around 4,000 m².
After these first two stages, a third phase of restoration work will begin in 2009 and include a complete renovation project which will be presented to the Segovia City Council and the Heritage Commission during the next few days so that they can assess its feasibility. This phase will include work on the interior design and furnishings and will supplement the work carried out during the first two phases. It will also involve work on the outside of the building and the facades and a glass roof for the complex’s two characteristic courtyards. During the press conference, Fernando Serrano-Suñer insisted that the restoration work would “respect the building’s heritage” at all times and stressed that in the case of the facades, which are at present in a very poor state of repair, the aim was to “restore them to their former splendour”.
The fourth phase will focus on the total restoration of the building and work will begin in 2010. The final, most ambitious phase will involve work on urban planning, the outdoor areas and leisure and sports facilities. The idea is to provide the area which surrounds the former convent with green areas and landscaped gardens which can house open-air lecture areas, a plaza which can serve as a meeting point for students and a sports area which “blends in perfectly with the surroundings”. In addition, this project, which will be presented in report or draft form to the Heritage Commission, includes moving the current car park underground and thus providing the university with over 180 parking spaces. Above all, Serrano-Suñer highlighted that IE University aims to respect its surroundings and environment and is fully committed to respecting the extraordinary variety of natural landscapes found in the Eresma River valley, where the former convent is located.
IE University management estimates that the total restoration process of the former convent of Santa Cruz la Real will come to an end in 2014. Segovia will then be the home of an international university which will compete with the best in Europe and be equipped with the very latest technology whilst fully respecting the area’s natural and historic heritage.
SANTA CRUZ LA REAL, A NATIONAL MONUMENT
The convent of Santa Cruz la Real, which is located on the outskirts of the city of Segovia in the Eresma River valley, was founded in 1218, just two years after the creation of the mendicant Order of the Dominicans. Diego de Colmenares, a sixteenth century chronicler, reported that Saint Dominic did penance in a cave near the river to the north of the city and that he founded the order in this spot.
The convent was rebuilt during the last quarter of the fifteenth century over the old thirteenth century Romanesque structure and the current church, with its monumental portal, was built. The rebuilding work, carried out in late Gothic style, was carried out under the auspices of the Catholic Monarchs and records referring to the project date back to 1478. The work was undertaken by the architect Juan Guás, who worked for the Crown of Castile between 1453 and 1496 and was the greatest exponent of the Hispano-Flemish school.
The Dominican presence in the convent lasted until the monks were released from their religious vows as decreed by the minister Mendizábal in 1836. The convent then became a hospice and, until recently, it was a nursing home for the elderly under the ownership of the Segovia Provincial Council. It has since been renovated to house IE University.
IE Business School entered the world of university education in January 2007 when it acquired IE University, a sophisticated, innovative, international institution committed to the business elite with a global outlook, entrepreneurial flair and a public-spirited nature. The fact that it is the first time a business school has purchased a university means that its students have an enterprising, business spirit which is lacking in universities in general.
IE University expands IE Business School’s international educational model to undergraduate and postgraduate studies, thus creating a unique space for higher education in Europe. IE University stands for a new model of university education based on the diffusion of knowledge and innovation among the leaders of tomorrow.
IE University offers an exclusive program including subjects from the fields of science and humanities. Degrees can be taken in Architecture (English and Spanish), Communication (English and Spanish), Construction Management, Journalism, Psychology, Telecommunication Engineering, History of Art, Tourism and Biology. Postgraduate studies offered by the university will include master’s degrees in Security Management, Communication Management in Social Networks and Work Space Design.
IE University currently has approximately 1,200 students and 170 professors. Student numbers for the new university are expected to reach 2,000 in five years, with 80% of these being international students.
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