Giving to LAU


Building for the Future

LAU has embarked on a dramatic building and renovation program to ensure its two university campuses remain cutting edge centers of excellence.

Since its days as a school for girls in the 1800s, LAU has grown rapidly across campuses in Beirut and Byblos. The introduction of new degree programs in medicine and nursing has made LAU more popular than ever, with a total of 8,200 undergraduate and graduate students currently enrolled. The university is extremely proud of this growth, but it has been accompanied by increasing difficulties in space allocation. In response to over-crowding and the need for specialized facilities, LAU is reinventing existing spaces and building new premises.

The steady hum of building work is discernible on both campuses, but Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management, Georges Hamouche, insists disruption to students has been minimal. Over the last two years he has spearheaded a collaborative design process, working with a steering committee consisting of representatives from across the university to ensure user requirements are accommodated.

“We place huge importance on creating functional and attractive facilities that are harmonious with their surroundings,” Hamouche says. “We also need to create new facilities that can respond to changing and emerging needs of the university.”

This September saw the inauguration of Block C, a sleek dormitory that will house 48 students on the Byblos campus. Meanwhile, the eagerly anticipated complex for the Gilbert and Rose-Marie Chagoury School of Medicine and the Alice Chagoury School of Nursing is expected to be unveiled in November. Already a landmark of the Byblos campus, the ultra-modern 15,500 square meter building will serve as a core LAU education and research facility, merging state-of-the-art anatomy and simulation laboratories with classrooms, lecture halls, computer labs and student lounges. The six-story building, which was built in consultation with Harvard Medical International, will also be home to the School of Pharmacy.

In 2015, Byblos campus will open a 6,000 square meter Library and 1,000 square meter Central Administration Building. The space has been conceived by Atelier Pagnamenta Torriani, architects renowned for sophisticated library design, and will feature multimedia spaces, open-plan and group study areas, a café, lounges and computer stations. Designs for an 8,500 square meter Engineering Building that features specialized technical laboratories are currently being finalized.

In Beirut the former Learning Resource Center is being transformed into a Student Center, a vibrant social hub at the heart of campus that will foster interaction between the university’s different academic disciplines. Besides lounges and office space for student clubs, the building will also connect to the revamped Cafeteria as well as registration and examination facilities, music and dance rehearsal space and a large lecture hall. New office space is being created across campus and the Early Childhood Center nursery is being rebuilt.

LAU’s philosophy is that its buildings should reflect the university’s commitment to academic excellence, providing facilities that can help unlock the potential of its diverse student body. A leading priority in LAU’s strategic plan, the ambitious building and renovation work currently underway should further attract prospective students. With this in mind, the Beirut campus gymnasium and fitness center have also been completely renovated. “Everything we build is in accordance with the latest international safety standards and the Americans with Disabilities Act,” says Hamouche.

Even more facilities are planned for the near future to enhance the LAU educational experience and accommodate the burgeoning student population. In Beirut, designs for an 18,000 square meter Arts and Science building are currently underway, while in Byblos a state-of-the-art athletics and fitness center has been planned.

LAU remains committed to providing state-of-the-art facilities for students, faculty and staff, says Hamouche. “I’m proud of the progress LAU has achieved in expansion but we are not finished yet. Much remains to be done to ensure the university premises continue to respond to the evolving needs of students and faculty.”