Now I haven’t stayed away from campus over the summer like many. I’ve been in Brighton throughout and so have been back a few times for various reasons. Had I had steered clear for the duration I’m not sure I would recognise the campus I returned to. Firstly, and most noticeably is that Arts D and E now cease to exist. In fact ask any fresher and presumably they’ll say with some confidence that the Arts buildings only follow the alphabet to C.
What now exists is a large, fenced-off space, inhabited by construction vehicles and fluorescent jacket-wearing folk, and due to be filled by some quite modern looking structure, I presume. I’m not too sure what was wrong with the old buildings. Perhaps their carpets needed relaying, and it seemed cost-effective to replace the entire building why they were at it. For all this unsightly construction work, I want something pretty impressive. I’d like automatic doors that don’t close on you, and that open when you approach. Maybe a decent wireless internet signal in all the lecture halls and teaching rooms, rooms that actually have the capacity for the lectures they are designed to teach. Although my sceptical imagination anticipates having hindsight of what the previous buildings were used for will serve no purpose other than instilling a sense of nostalgia in students, and lecture halls will be too small, wireless signal will be intermittent and weak, and there will be various climate and audio annoyances – hot, echoey lecture halls and the like. When it’s completed, I’m sure it will be an asset to the University of some sort. At the very least it will look quite good.
The library has also been revamped. RFID chips have now been fitted, presumably at some expense, so that returning a book now takes exactly the same time as using barcodes. The bookshop once housed in Bramber house is now within the confines of the building, and a café is now included for good measure, inevitably with the same overpriced limited choice as the rest of the cafés on campus. All this modernisation and reorganisation is very well, but I think they’re missing a trick with the photocopiers. It still costs several pounds to get the card which allows one to use the thing, and then one has to top it up with the required amount. Now I haven’t photocopied much during my degree, but it would need quite a bit to make it more cost-effective than any 5p-a-copy job available at most good newsagents, especially as it is more per page on campus than at aforementioned newsagent (N.B. It would never be cheaper to get any amount of photocopying done on campus).
Another slight alteration to the campus, a very minor one to most of the populous, is the new Student Life Centre nestled centrally in Chichester 1 for everyone to come and share their problems with the staff there. I point out that it is minor to most of the campus as I exclude myself from this reference for the single fact that it irritates me quite directly. Let me elaborate.
Until a point in the not too distant past, just before Easter of last year if memory serves, what was then known as Lab 2, was packed full of computers reserved exclusively for the use of students in my department of Informatics, and come various deadlines throughout term there was enough space for all. It, accompanied by neighbouring Lab 1, and the lesser-known Lab 3, wasn’t spacious by any means, but sufficient for the mad rush of printing and all-nighters that I had been a part of in my first year. However approaching the Easter interlude rumours were rife that the exclusive use of this room was about to be lost.
Again my memory is hazy so apologies for the vagueness, but around Easter the coded locks were removed and small announcements were posted on the doors that our beloved room was now property of ITS and was free for all to use. Indeed all used it freely and I felt a certain sadness whenever I walked by throughout the summer term. Over the summer my sporadic visits have witnessed the gradual transformation of the computer lab into an office, fronted by an open window presumably to make the contained office ‘accessible’ or something.