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On Saturday 17th November Furness College foyer had its “official” reopening with a guest appearance from celebrity chef, Simon Rogan. Reuben Edwards, former Furness College Principal, who left his position at the beginning of August, was in attendance at the event and informed SCAN that there was an event earlier in the day “where Simon [Rogan] was made a Fellow of the College, with a wider event afterwards with the ribbon cutting and some food courtesy of Catering – presumably under a little bit of pressure knowing that there was a Michelin starred chef in attendance.”
The Faculty of Health and Medicine has now been located within the ‘Furness Building’ which means that the foyer and entrance are part of both this department, and Furness College. It has been rumoured that there are disagreements between the Faculty and Furness college regarding use of the space. SCAN has been told that the Dean of the Faculty of Health & Medicine, Professor Tony Gatrell has insisted that the college ask his permission before holding events of any sort in the foyer. Edward’s on the other hand, insists that this area has been designated as a “shared space.”
Despite these rumours Gatrell told SCAN that he didn’t “see any ‘problems’ whatsoever” regarding the foyer, Edwards was less positive about the renovations stating that “the college was consulted over the furniture but ‘democratically’ overruled on our [rather negative] feedback and I was never involved in the plans for its layout/décor.” Gatrell went on to state that he is “delighted to see the whole Faculty co-located in Furness, and to have a ‘front door’ to the Faculty, to welcome staff, students and visitors.” He also said that he was “pleased” to see that the “attractive foyer” was being used as “a high-quality social space.”
He went to say that “we also had to fight to have the college logo on the porter’s lodge – and had to compromise to having it in black rather than College colours which would have clashed with the new colour scheme (the Porter’s lodge and mailroom are also part of the college’s official footprint).”
There has also been some concern with regards to access to ‘Trev’ (Furness Bar) as the doors to the foyer are locked in the evening. It has now become apparent that library cards can be used to gain access to the foyer yet this has remained relatively unpublicised until now with students having to walk round to the back entrance. This is now being publicised with a black board out on the spine, making it clearer and more accessible for students.
Alongside issues over integral college necessities, such as a sign for the porters/mailroom, Edwards wished to stress the fact that “the foyer is an important area of social space and part of the fabric of the College. Although somewhat more clinical now than it was before – and I would hope it will continue to be used so by students and staff. I am sure attempts to discourage students/staff from eating/drinking in the foyer will come to naught!”