By Eleanor Tay
STUDENTS staying at Hall of Residence 4 will have to endure another year of renovations.
The hall has been under renovation since last July to refurbish and expand existing facilities.
But construction work will continue over the next two years in two phases, according to the Office of Housing and Auxiliary Services (HAS), with completion slated for August 2018.
“The renovations will address residents’ complaints, with the incorporation of more meeting rooms and air-conditioned rooms”, said Hall 4 President Vincent Low, 23, a second-year Nanyang Business School student.
Most residents have chosen to remain in hall despite the ongoing renovation. But others complain about the noise.
Noise all day long
“We don’t understand why they can’t do construction at non-critical times” said resident Zhan Xian, 25. “Drilling was most noisy during the end of the last semester, when I was studying in my room. They had the whole 10 weeks before to do it, but they didn’t.”
The third-year Nanyang Business School student added: “They are currently drilling the floor tiles so it’s been very noisy these weeks, especially since they start at around 10am in the morning and only end around 6pm or 7pm.”
The noise is mainly from construction workers hacking down walls to make space for new windows in every room, which will be the biggest addition to the hall, according to Low.
Blocks 26 and 27 will be fully refurbished at the end of this academic year, while Blocks 22 to 25 will be revamped during the next academic year.
Current residents from Blocks 22 to 25 will be reassigned to stay in Blocks 26 and 27 in the meantime, while other residents will be reallocated to other halls. The new intake of freshmen into Hall 4 will also be reduced, said HAS.
Areas cordoned off
Residents said they have also been inconvenienced by the cordoning off of certain areas, such as communal spaces and the main entrance, which are next to the blocks undergoing renovation.
Currently, residents can only enter the hall through the side entrances leading from Nanyang Lake or Hall 1. Some residents have even resorted to using the emergency exit as a shortcut.
“We lose out on meeting with people by chance at the void deck areas and stone tables,” said resident Ong Tze Shern, 22. “The two stone tables were where people could just chill and eat in between classes or before going up to hall.”
The third-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student added: “Location-wise, we are good because we are near North and South Spine, as well as the Hive and Nanyang Business School. But within our hall, we don’t really have anything now.”
Dust from the renovation has not been much of an issue with residents, though this was intially a concern.
Second-year Nanyang Business School student Soh Siok Kheng, 21, who lives in a non-air conditioned room, said: “The dust doesn’t really get to me, as my room is not facing the construction site. Even those who stay near the construction area say they don’t find it too bad.”
On top of the ongoing renovations in hall, residents expressed hope for the nearby Canteen 4 to be given an overhaul as well.
Those interviewed by the Nanyang Chronicle said they no longer patronise the canteen because of the “poor quality” and “lack of variety” of food sold.
Currently, Canteen 4 only has three stalls: two Chinese Cuisine stalls, as well as one selling drinks and snacks.
First-year School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering student Chan Shan Liang, 20, said: “Only international students purchase food here. The food here is quite bad, so most of us would rather go out for supper or eat at the other canteens during the day.”
In spite of all the temporary inconvenience, Chan said he is looking forward to the new changes in his hall.
“Our current windows are super tiny and only located at the corners of the room, so it’s really hard to get sunlight and air,” he said.
“Having more windows will definitely make the room more airy.”
Most residents said they were willing to grin and bear with it, as long it means being with their friends in the same hall.
Second-year School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences student Jewelle Koh, 21, said: “It’s become a place we feel a lot for, and the people here are worth it.”