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Estates and Buildings plan “extensive summer refurbishment programme”

Posted on 5th October 2008. No Comment

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The Durham University Estates and Buildings department has expressed its desire to “make the most” of the en masse departure of thousands of students this Friday and bring about “radical” repair work across the University.

The move, which has met with widespread acclaim by senior University figures, looks set to even eclipse previous efforts made by the University’s maintenance department such as the ground breaking disabled access ramps to Elvet Riverside. An Old Shire Hall source told the Shallot: “We have every confidence that Estates and Buildings will fully embrace the opportunity provided by the three month absence of the University’s undergraduate population and bring about vital and significant repair work.” When asked for more specific clarification as to what this repair work would entail, the source, who is rumoured to be a staunch supporter of Cornish nationalism, was unable to provide further comment.

Brian Mercer, who has headed up the Estates and Buildings department for the past year, called a press conference yesterday to highlight the department’s summer plans and was quick to defend his men against accusations of wanton sloth that had been levelled from various quarters. In announcing the “extensive summer refurbishment programme” as part of a specially prepared white paper, Mr Mercer told the Shallot that he “fully intended to raise Durham University facilities up to prime academic standards”.

The sparsely attended press conference, which was chaired by University spin doctor Keith Seacroft, was hailed as a profound success by Old Shire Hall representatives, but it is unsure which criteria were used for such an assessment. It is expected that once the student population has vacated the various University premises for their “well-deserved” summer break all Estates and Buildings hands will be well and truly applied to the pump of refurbishment.

At the centre of this programme will be the provision of internet cabling for another 37 study bedrooms in Van Mildert College. Due to the laborious nature of such a task it is expected that the installation of these cables will take until late September to complete. Mr Mercer was quick to add that “if time permits, Estates and Buildings will look into issues such as the worryingly fragile Hatfield dining room roof and the six foot subsidence apparent in certain livers-in accommodation in Hild Bede”. “It is important we prioritise,” he added, “there is no point repairing major structural damage before the installation of internet cables.”

The prolonged absence of students from college accommodation over the summer months provides a unique opportunity for structural repair and maintenance of college buildings and Estates and Buildings appear determined to make full use of this opportunity afforded. It is estimated that a total of four “maintenance specialists” will be carrying out the much needed summer work and it is understood that they will take no more than four days a week off for rest and recuperation from their arduous schedule.

Mr Mercer closed the press conference on an intentionally positive note by referring to all the “immensely constructive work” Estates and Buildings had accomplished in prior summer holidays, but all those present appear to have perceived this remark as a subtle joke. After plenty of apparently weak efforts to defeat the problems of sub-standard college accommodation, it is hoped that the 37 Mildert students will make full use of their new ‘in room’ computing facilities. The Shallot had intended to get a quote from a member of Estates and Buildings staff for this report, but discovered that no staff could be arsed to provide this.

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