The planned rejuvenation of Alexandra Square, estimated to be completed in the summer, has met with delays.
The proposed refurbishment plan was reported in SCAN last year with official designs released in February, mapping the proposed changes and dates of building work. It was intended by the start of May that a lift shaft would have been constructed, the underpass bus stop would have been relocated and that new steps and a ramp would be installed.
In February of this year the final plans were unveiled, featuring LED lights leading to the locations in the area that inspired the college names and additional seating as well as a refurbished underpass.
Louisa Duff, Communications Officer for Facilities, said “Alexandra Square rejuvenation works is going to the University’s Finance Committee meeting on 21 May 2010 for approval. We have tendered the works and have a principal contractor set up to start the works on 1 June 2010. When finance is approved hopefully on the 21 May, we will issue a letter of appointment to the contractor on 24 May to commence with the works.”
The new estimated date for completion of the works to the square and underpass is the end of November 2010.
LUSU President Michael Payne said “the Square has 40 years of history and 40 years of memories. Any solution must be sympathetic to the architecture that exists.”
The redesign of Alexandra Square is part of the University’s ongoing plan to renovate the whole of the campus. The plan, which altogether will run from 2007 to 2017, aims to open out the campus and decrease its feeling of containment.
Student opinion on the subject is mixed. Liam Shepherd, a Bowland student, said “I’m furious. Alex Square is in dire need of refurbishment. It’s so outdated and doesn’t reflect the modern spirit of the campus or the universities up and coming status”, while Ben Showell, a Lonsdale student, commented that “it’s been so long since anything had happened to improve the Square I’d forgotten there was even a plan.”
Daniel McNamee, a Grizedale student, felt that “refurbishment of that whole central area of the campus is long overdue. If things have changed, as in it was meant to be finished by the summer and it hasn’t started, then everyone should be told about it and what is now going to happen.”
The financial delays also put into question the estimated completion date for the new Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts (LICA) building. With the newly merged Politics, Philosophy and RS departments waiting to move in to the old one, this could lead to considerable confusion and knock-on delays for months to come.