RENOVATIONS in the bathrooms and to society and club notice boards in the Newman Building have recently been completed despite original assurances to The University Observer that the university did not have the finances for any refurbishments. Work on the basement bathrooms, near Theatre Q, was completed last week while the notice boards located in the same vicinity have been replaced.
Building Planning Manager, Elizabeth Dunne, said that because of the limited funds available in the university, all renovations are strictly limited to those areas believed to be in urgent need of refurbishment or repair. “As funds are limited, the work is prioritised to those areas most in need of maintenance,” explained Ms Dunne. “College funds are set aside for minor works…[and] the oldest parts of the buildings and the heavily populated areas, such as the concourse, are given precedence.”
Despite the current financial conditions, it is vital that there is ongoing refurbishment work to guarantee that the appropriate facilities are available to students and staff, according to Ms Dunne. She explained that,“it is important for a building of this scale and age to ensure that there’s a planned refurbishment programme… the [Newman] Building is over 30 years-old and the refurbishments of these welfare facilities are part of a programme of ongoing maintenance.”
Another renovation that has been completed is the replacement of individual society and sports club notice boards in the Newman Building. Auditor of the Commerce and Economic society (C&E), Patrick Griffith, was unable to clarify whether any society members have been informed of the refurbishments prior to the work taking place, however he did state that he has yet to be notified of another location in the building where the society can post their announcements. A UCD spokesperson refuted this, and was confident that all societies and clubs were informed of the refurbishment schedule to replace the individual notice boards run by societies and clubs to general notice boards, on which all student organisations could advertise their events.
Plans for the Newman Regeneration Project were postponed in the first semester due to a lack of university funds to finance the project, which was aimed at providing more relaxing areas for students in the building. Speaking to The University Observer in October 2008, Director of the Newman Regeneration Project, Clíona de Bhaldraithe Marsh stated that funding was unavailable due to spending cutbacks requested by the university.