With three weeks until freshers move into the new Southside halls of residence, concerns have arisen over whether the building will be completed on time. The individual Selkirk, Tizard and Falmough-Keogh common rooms, each suitable for 35-40 students, will be ready but are not large enough to hold an entire hall?s worth of students Although the structure is complete, the central common room - the only one large enough to hold all students of one of the three halls at the same time - will not be completed for freshers week. Proposals are being put forward for it to be used in the evenings as an unfurnished space, as the work remaining will be mainly cosmetic. The design of the building as a whole is geared towards smaller scale social interactions rather than one large common area: all of the kitchens are equipped with social areas and televisions.
Furthermore, rather than the neatly fronted building shown in promotional artwork and architects drawings, a row of portacabins has been erected outside, raised on girders to allow access to the Linstead building project. This means that a portion of the ground, first, and second floors at the front will have severely restricted light, and almost no view whatsoever. The Deputy President (Education and Welfare), Kirsty Patterson, has been in negotiations with Commercial Services about a rent reduction for students in the affected rooms, winning the equivalent of a £5 per week reduction for the 26 students on the first and second floors who are affected. It has also been agreed that the portacabin windows directly facing Southside will be shuttered to grant students their privacy. These students will, however, still be paying over £150 per week for rooms with little natural light.
Nevertheless, it looks like the majority of Southside will be completed on time, which bodes well for the rest of the Princes Garden restoration project. What remains to be seen is if there are any teething problems when students move in, as there will be very little scope for errors or delays come the 29th September.