Budding planners help redevelop mainland hostel

Audrey Chung




Fifteen CityU students from the Department of Building and Construction (BC), volunteered as architecture and cost planners in a student hostel redevelopment project in Guangxi province. The project, due to be completed in October this year, will accommodate 288 primary school students.


The project, dubbed “CityU teacher-student hostel”, is led by Miss Grace Cheng, BC Instructor. The 15 students are divided into two groups. One group is responsible for designing the new student hostel; the other group estimates construction costs and manages planning. 


Three students, Mr Samuel Lam, Mr Victor Chan and Mr John Leung, made the first site visit in early January, meeting environment officials in Guangxi and determining the needs of primary school students in the area. “When we first got there, we found the tables, chairs and beds were so old that they could hardly be used any more,” Mr Lam said. “The hostel was so crowded that 12 students needed to share one bed. The hygiene situation worried us a lot, too.”


The old student hostel, made of brick and wood, has only one storey. Under the redevelopment project, it will be converted into a three-storey concrete building. The ground floor will consist of a covered playground and several bathrooms. The first and second floors, with a total area of 300 square meters, will provide six bedrooms to accommodate up to 288 students. Samuel added, “We hope that the new student hostel improves the students’ quality of life.”


Another group of BC students discussed cost planning with environmental officials in Guangxi, 9 to 12 April.  Miss Mini Tam, one of the student planners, said that the project gives her the opportunity to apply what she has learned. She was particularly impressed by the strong desire to learn shown by many of the primary school students she me there.  “Although the school is such a long way from home -- the students need to hike up a mountain to reach it -- they never sacrifice the opportunity to study,” she said.  “With the new student hostel, not only can we improve their living conditions, we also sustain their enthusiasm for learning.”


Initiating the project was Mr Nicolas Yeung, Founding Director of Construction Industry Institute -- Hong Kong (CII-HK), one of the donors. He also acted as a mentor of the CityU students, giving them advice on the design of the new student hostel and cost planning issues. “Through this project, I hope the participating students from CityU gain useful hands-on experience in design, project execution and management and, over time, develop a strong relationship with the people and primary school students in Guangxi,” Mr Yeung said. “They all have made great efforts discharging their responsibilities, and have demonstrated to everyone their courtesy, initiative, ability and flexibility in rising up to the challenges; and above all, their dedication and seriousness towards their work,” he added. Executives from other leading building firms, such as Widnell, J. Roger Preston Limited, Hsin Yieh Architects and Associate Limited, also held an experience sharing session with the BC students in February this year. They discussed the redevelopment project from the various perspective of quantity surveying, building services, and architectural and structural design.



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