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After a year of building work, Furness Bar opened its doors to students at 5PM on Monday 22nd of October.
The refurbishment process has been subject to much attention from the student body, not only out of anticipation of the bar’s new look, but also the delays and postponements that have plagued the project during this term.
Initially, the intention was that the bar would be open in time for freshers’ week. However, rumours that this would not be the case began circulating in late September and were reported in SCAN. Furness College JCR then began to formulate provisional contingency plans for their freshers’ week, before being informed that Trevor would indeed be open.
However, a few days later, the day before arrivals weekend, Head of Facilities Mark Swindlehurst announced via email that he had rejected the handover of the building, owing to a number of safety test failures. A new handover date of Friday 12th of October was announced, but this too was not met by the university, owing to incomplete work and yet more safety test failures. Facilities did not pass comment on this and no new date was announced, although rumours that the bar would open on the 17th and 19th of October were circulated. Both Mark Swindlehurst and Head of Commercial Services Jo Hardman came under criticism from the student body for a perceived lack of communication and clarity on the progress of the renovation, particularly during a question and answer session at the LUSU General Meeting in Week 1, when Furness College President Angus Wakefield expressed his frustration that the university had seemingly not made any effort to keep his JCR up to date.
The redevelopment was part of a wider project to update the entire Furness College area. What was the Furness College foyer has been renamed to include the Faculty of Health and Medicine, and the area has been altered to resemble the majority of campus’s departmental buildings. The layout of the bar’s interior remains the same, and the back bar and Junior Common Room has been retained in the new design. The bar entrances and doors leading to the JCR and back bar resemble those found across all of the university’s buildings, but SCAN has been informed that they will be replaced in the coming weeks.
The bar was full on its first opening night with students turning out to see what the ‘New Trev’ looked like. Most of the comments from students were positive, with one student commenting to Bailrigg FM that, “furness bar has kept the originality of what it used to have in first year. Its kept the same look but at the same time has been made more often combines the working man’s pub with the modern life.” Some complaints were voiced, particularly concerning the move of the darts board, one student commented that, “I like what I’ve seen so far but I don’t like where the darts board is now. Where the darts board used to be looks like a pisshole.”
For the foreseeable future, Furness Bar will open daily at 5PM, and earlier opening hours will not be implemented until it is able to offer food provision.