Although the plans for the new social and catering building on Heslington East are set out on paper, as usual the University has paused for debate. As we wait for the decision from above, the alleged reasons for delaying the work (that the building will not return sufficient profit) suggest that the University is essentially placing monetary gain above student satisfaction.
As it stands, the residents of Goodricke College and the students of the Hes East Campus have only one café facility open nine til five, and no bar facility or cash point. Currently standing at 600, the population of Hes East will more than double to 1,300 in 2012, and therefore the ratio of student to social facility will only get worse. A new social and catering building is not merely an attractive amenity such as a new lake, but something that should be at the top of the list to complete in order to sufficiently cater for such a large number of students.
“they are risking diminishing the incentive to prospective students”
The proposed social hub is expected to follow the models of D bar or V bar, and the plans are well developed and ready to be started. If delayed the work would drag on into the first term of October 2012, after the arrival of Langwith College and the 2012 first years, meaning mess, chaos and disruption would be freshers first taste of University life.
A newly finished, sleek and attractive social catering building would look far more impressive than unfinished building work and promised deadlines, and would maybe compensate for the raised rent that catered residents such as those in Langwith moving to Hes East, will already be having to deal with.
The University should recognise that without a prompt start to the plans for the new building, they are risking diminishing the incentive to prospective students. These students may already be less than willing to choose the option of living on the seemingly distant Hes East campus but the fact that there will be no facilities for food or socialising makes it even more unattractive.
Making the decision based on money might seem to be the safest option, but a vibrant social catering building would be a symbol of the University’s dedication to ensuring students have all the necessary facilities to live comfortably, even if it doesn’t return any immediate profit.