It’s curious how some things come to be; whether you find that book which completes your essay at the last minute, someone chooses not to take the last Chicken Caesar Wrap in Campus Central, or a building perfect for providing adequate study space becomes available right in the middle of campus; coincidence can come in handy just when it’s needed.
RUSU, University staff, and students have all expressed concern in recent months over the library’s protracted refurbishment. The additional 200 spaces as a result of the £37m four year project pales in comparison to the 400 students who joined us just last year alone. With the project well underway, Education Officer Niall Hamilton amongst others has shown great concern for the academic centre-point of campus, and whether it could sustain the impact of additional students.
At the same time, conflicts and toing-and-froing between local and national listing authorities ran in circles over our beloved URS building, and under whose supervision the newly listed building’s refurbishment would take place. As circumstance would have it, the building fell to national authority, adding an extra complication to the process of redevelopment. And herein lies the luck of this situation. As plans must now be re-drawn for the URS building, the university will be able to do as it will on a temporary basis with the URS building. It is the Spark’s understanding, from University library employees, that the building will now be used for study space, beginning in the summer exam period, and into next year as well.
One library employee, who will remain anonymous, said “There is quite a large element of luck involved in this situation we find ourselves in, this thankfully takes out the unknowns of not having the URS as a study space asset during the library’s partial closure”.
Now the important part which will appear in block capitals: THE LIBRARY HOLDS 1,300 PEOPLE TOTAL – THE URS BUILDING HOLDS 860 PEOPLE TOTAL. THIS WORKS OUT AS A REDUCTION OF 440 SPACES FOR EATING, STUDYING AND EVEN SLEEPING.
Plans for the URS building will now be redrawn to meet national grade-listing standards; the University has not indicated for what period of time the URS building will be used for study space purposes. It is, however, very clear that there has been a large element of luck involved in the situation in which Reading students find themselves with more open study space than possibly ever before, and as the result of unforeseen circumstance.