Campus facelift

Regina Lau

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You walk into the subway between Festival Walk and the University campus. The brick concrete walls are gone and have been replaced by trendy metal panels. Displayed on the panels are plaques of quotations by renowned scholars and famous people. Ceiling lights brighten up the previously rather dark and dingy tunnel. As you walk into the main entrance of the AcademicBuilding , you notice even more drastic changes. The main entrance of the Run Run Shaw Library, the Hang Seng Bank and the Bookshop have all been relocated. The Podium looks modern and spacious, with more seating areas than before... This is a glimpse of what the campus could look like by the end of 2003, when most of the renovations of the Ambiance Improvement Project will be completed.

"CityU embarked on a series of refurbishing works in June 2001. Since then, classrooms in the yellow zone of the Academic Building have been upgraded with advanced AV equipment and acoustic panels. Classroom passageways with chairs and tables have been brightened up with the installation of glazed corridors to bring in daylight and views of courtyards. Cyber-type i-cafes and plasma screens have been installed in the lobbies and common areas of academic departments. The Student Canteen has been redesigned to enable easier flow of people. More seats and desks have been provided in the Mall to better cater to the needs of students.

"Through these renovation works, we want to create an ambiance conducive to interactivity." Facilities Manager Mr Sunny Kwok said, "We want to create a harmonious and user-friendly environment, so that students will develop a sense of belonging, linger after class and engage in meaningful activities."

A new round of works gathered momentum at the beginning of 2002. Hoarding panels are now being erected in the Academic Building to prepare for major renovation and reconstruction. The University has acquired permission from the government to take over the management of the subway through to Festival Walk. Work started in March to convert it into an extension of the campus.

Renovation work has also kicked off at the Sports Complex to convert four of its squash courts into facilities for climbing, golf and gymnasium. Mr Kwok expects most of the work to be finished by the end of 2003. "We do not want to cause too much inconvenience to staff and students, so the work will have to be done in phases and some can only be carried out at night and during the summer term break."

Renovation work on classrooms and corridors on Level 5 of the green and blue zones of the Academic Building is scheduled for the summers of 2002 and 2003. Meanwhile, Level 3 and Level 4 are undergoing reconstruction to create more space and to facilitate passage between the various floors. "The building will become a more integrated and user-friendly complex after renovation," said Mr Kwok.

Under the reconstruction plan, the Hang Seng Bank and the Bookshop will be relocated to Level 3. The Cut Price Shop and the Souvenir Shop, on Level 4, will be merged into one outlet. The Library will have a new main entrance and the two existing entrances will be closed. Some escalators will be removed to open up new space; some will be added to facilitate passage. The skylight in the green zone will be modified to accommodate a new pair of escalators to give direct access between the Podium and the classrooms on Level 5. "As a result, not only will the pedestrian flow be smoother during peak hours, but more spaces will thus be available for seating areas where students can interact socially."

The Ambiance Improvement Project was conceived under the AURORA strategy. It was given the go-ahead in 2001 after the Budget Committee approved funding. The project kicked off with the appointment of a design consulting team to generate and implement renovation plans for the campus, under the supervision of the Facilities Management Office. The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2003.

FMO Director Mr K Y Wong said, "During the works period we anticipate that noise and dirt will be inevitable. While the FM" will do its best to minimize such disturbances, we hope that staff and students will be tolerant of any temporary inconveniences, in return for an improved campus in the long run."

 

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