UCT makes space for bigger classes

2015-06-23 06:00
A new state-of-the-art building on the UCT campus is on its way to provide a large space for lectures. The building should open in the second half of next year.

A new state-of-the-art building on the UCT campus is on its way to provide a large space for lectures. The building should open in the second half of next year.

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The University of Cape Town is building a new lecture space that can accommodate 400 students in one auditorium.

The highly anticipated state-of-the-art building will help with the courses with a large number of enrolled students. The construction of this new lecture theatre started in November last year and is expected to be completed by April next year.

The lecture venue will be constructed on the vacant site south of the Humanities Graduate School building.

In keeping with the building’s aim to get a four-star green rating, the demolition of the existing house there included the recycling and rehabilitation of what was demolished.

Besides the venue supplying a new 400-seater lecture theatre it will also be a much-needed social space and a gateway to the southern end of the university campus.

The venue will include outdoor and indoor social spaces. It will also accommodate video recording of lectures for remote learning, video conferencing allowing four cameras, showing of full-length films from a single data projector and voice reinforcement for presenters

Chris Briers, director of projects and capital works, properties and services, says the lecture venue, an auditorium, will announce the corner of University Avenue.

Not only will this new lecture theatre benefit the students, it will be a bookable venue for use by others.

It is expected that the venue will be fully operational by the start of the second semester in July next year.

This venue is additional to the pool of venues and does not replace any venue.

“The construction of it was recommended early in 2010 as an urgent need was identified for a lecture venue to accommodate courses with large enrolments, without the need to split the courses,” added Briers.

Though a lot of work needs to be done, nothing will affect the environment and not a lot of changes will be done.

However, the trees that fall within the footprint of the new building will be impacted. All yellowwood and wild olive trees will be retained. Large exotic specimens, such as London planes near the old South bus stop, as well as the oak tree that resides on the corner of University Avenue, will be kept.

Thirteen new indigenous and exotic trees will be planted. This proposed row of trees might edge the southern boundary of the new lecture building on Madiba Road.

Nine trees that are on the alien invasive list will be removed. Nine more exotic trees will be removed, including eucalyptus, avocado and cypress trees.

One large indigenous wild peach tree will be removed, as well as a large coral tree. Although the coral tree may be viewed as valuable, it is too close to the wild peach tree and the new building footprint. A specialist has suggested that the tree has a wide branch structure and its branches and roots are intertwined with other trees and would therefore not be successfully relocated.

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