Felix may have reported on Southside's opening this week, but the three new halls of residence were far from ready just 12 hours before students were due to move in. Members of College staff, re-apps, wardens and student volunteers were still in Southside at 2:30am this morning, helping with the effort to get Southside ready for the influx of students at 9am today. Despite being on schedule for most of the project, it fell at the final hurdle with much still to be done on Friday.
Director of Commercial Services Paddy Jackman described himself as "apoplectic" upon seeing the building Friday morning. When Live! arrived on the scene at 7pm it still resembled a scene from a reality TV hotel renovation show, with lamps, bins, contractors, power tools and toilet brushes still in the corridors with 14 hours to go. By 10pm Jackman described it as "Mission:Impossible, becoming Mission:Possible if we keep going until 7am". Having seen the place at 2:30am, 7am seems a little optimistic.
The lift in Falmouth-Keogh hall is currently out of action, leaving freshers with a long trek upstairs if they are unfortunate enough to be on the fifth floor. Other gremlins include the fire alarm system showing an earth fault and the new RFID room access control system malfunctioning, with cards unable to open doors. Conventional keys will be issued while the door gremlins are being resolved.
The portacabins outside Southside have received a leafy facade, but some students will have a decidedly poor view - curtains in a number of rooms will not be fitted until Tuesday, so corrugated plastic has been taped over the windows in the meantime.
While he was working through the night, Jackman told Live! that residents of the Southside halls will receive a 25% discount for the first month of their stay, while the remaining problems are fixed. This will cost College in the region of £56,000.
We would like to stress that everyone involved in the project, along with a number of other volunteers, are doing everything they can to ensure as much as possible is ready for 9am. Deputy President (Education & Welfare) Kirsty Patterson - ably assisted by RCS Motor Club - was in the building until nearly 3am helping with room checks and delivering freshers welcome packs. All faults are being collated and should mostly be fixed overnight.