Don't Turn Campus into A Building Site | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

Don’t Turn Campus into A Building Site

Comment Writer Amelia Hiller questions the necessity of building a hospitality facility on campus

Since September, I’ve arrived at the Gisbert Kapp building at 9am every Thursday, ready to learn about a bunch of fictional pilgrims on their way to Canterbury. My seminar room is on the third floor, and comes with a less-than-picturesque view of… you guessed it, more campus building work.

Any University of Birmingham student knows that campus is pretty hectic at the moment, not only with the ‘Green Heart’ plan being well underway (R.I.P Old Library), but also the building of new student halls, the Collaborative Teaching Library, and also the university’s recent purchase of a 9.9 acre site in Selly Oak, which will later become the Birmingham Life and Sciences Park.

I’m much less enthusiastic about what’s going on next to the Gisbert Kapp, which is actually the building of a new hotel and conference facility

This is all fantastic, and I’m really enthusiastic about the fact that the university is investing money on improving future student experience. However, I’m much less enthusiastic about what’s going on next to the Gisbert Kapp, which is actually the building of a new hotel and conference facility.

My one question is: Why?

Why does our university need another hotel and conference facility? Well, the University of Birmingham website states that this will ‘enhance the experience of those visiting and staying on campus.’

I believe that investment in hospitality on university grounds is a complete waste of money, some of which will probably be student tuition fees

No offence, but this is in no way relevant to the university’s main purpose, which in my opinion is the teaching of its undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as the research of its staff. I believe that investment in hospitality on university grounds is a complete waste of money, some of which will probably be student tuition fees.

I can think of plenty of other things the university could be investing in, for example further provision and support for those struggling with university life, improved study spaces, subsidising printing and textbooks for students, or maybe even a free Old Joe Christmas jumper for every student.

All I can say is, what definitely wouldn’t be on my list is a cosy hotel for visitors to campus, especially when the university already possesses adequate accommodation and conference facilities off of Edgbaston Park Road. Who would want to get married right next to the Gisbert Kapp and North East multi-storey anyway? I definitely wouldn’t.

Of course, conferencing and hospitality is important. The university is central to the local community, a leading research institution, and also possesses a variety of resources which prospective visitors will no doubt value. However, my argument is that the staff and students are not likely to benefit hugely from this investment in cosy hotel rooms or a space for people to get married!

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I just worry that my £9,000 a year is being spent on a businessman being able to stay just that little bit closer to the Barber Institute

I can’t speak for anyone else, but I just worry that my £9,000 a year is being spent on a businessman being able to stay just that little bit closer to the Barber Institute, or wherever he needs to be the following morning. There’s already perfectly decent accommodation and conferencing just down the road, but we’ve now only got one multi-storey car park between 36,000 staff and students! (Hint hint, UoB)

What I am trying to put across is that the ‘Hotel and Conference Park’ makes no sense whatsoever. On this occasion, the university has chosen to invest in facilities that already exist on an adequate level, instead of those which value student and staff experience. I’m pretty sure that if the university held a survey regarding plans for the site overlooking the Gisbert Kapp, the response wouldn’t favour a hotel and conference venue.

Just to add (although this is me getting a bit pedantic), listening to building work throughout my seminar doesn’t really fit with the Chaucerian atmosphere that was intended, nor does it do anything to assist the hangovers of my classmates that left Sports Night a mere five hours earlier.



Published

23rd November 2017 at 9:00 am



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