17 April 2019 • Gideon Wille
Renovating for better education
The Accommodation Master Plan is well underway. One by one, the faculties are given a new look. Project manager Pauline Pool explains everything that’s involved. “At Facility Management, student satisfaction about the accommodations was significantly higher after the renovation. And that’s what it’s all about.”
Education is changing, students are no longer slouching in their seats during a lecture, but are actively involved in project groups. The lecturer goes from group to group and has more one-to-one contact with students. “Our beautiful building has outgrown its purpose,” says Pool, “it is still full of traditional classrooms. In addition, the number of students has increased, which requires a more efficient use of the space.”
That is why we conceived the Accommodations Master Plan. A complete renovation and refurbishment of the faculties where we focus on the types of spaces and the number of spaces that are required for our current and new education. Pool: “There are currently four processes running simultaneously. At the Faculty of Business, Finance & Marketing we are in the first, preparatory phase, at the Faculty of Public Management, Law & Safety we are creating the technical design and we are placing orders for furniture and equipment, at the Faculty of Health, Nutrition & Sport actual renovations are now underway and at the Faculty of Technology, Innovation & Society we are in the aftercare phase, just completing the finishing touches. Then we still have to do Management & Organisation and the Faculty of Social Work & Education, and we’ll be done.”
The start of every renovation process requires careful preparation. The project team works closely with the architect, lecturers, students and staff members such as those responsible for the timetables. A consultancy firm specialising in supervising building projects at schools is also involved. After a number of joint sessions, the provisional design is created.
Pool: “People find it difficult to go through this type of process. First there is some resistance, but you gradually see people becoming more excited. We spend a lot of time informing staff members. Lecturers want to know where they stand, where they can and cannot teach. People are attached to their workplace, they need to know what is going to change and what they can expect. The staff members must undergo a complete change; there are always various internal relocations.”
For the project team, it is quite a puzzle to organise the construction in a way that minimises inconvenience to the school. “The holiday periods are ideal, but a major renovation can easily take six months, so it cannot be completed in a holiday period. We try to take the lesson blocks into account. During the examination weeks, construction is practically halted, but it’s not possible to completely prevent any inconvenience.”
This is the first article in a series of two. The next article will discuss the experiences of users. More information about the Accommodations Master Plan is available on the intranet.
Students are satisfied with the new accommodations.