We’ve become so accustomed to the building work that perhaps we no longer see the effect of closing the roads and byways through the campus on those who aren’t so used to it. In particular, we greet closures of the access points to the University as normal. They aren’t. Memo to anyone who might be involved: the drive up to the University is a big selling point for the University, as anyone who has ever run an Open Day will tell you. Which is why we’re totally screwed when we close the road on Open Days. Maybe do it on one of the other three hundred and fifty-odd days available?
While the TV screen in Alexandra Square isn’t a vanity project to rank with the BorisBridge, it nevertheless ticks many of the same boxes. It has little utility and even less point, but it is large, striking and expensive. Leaving aside the fact that its position means that you can only see it from about 25% of the Square, what function does it serve, beyond giving visitors on Open Days something to remember us by? Meanwhile, there appears to be a screen that is almost as big but on wheels just sitting on the ground floor of the FASS building, with an even bigger box next to it. Is this part of the new ‘Resigned to the Spine’ plan, intended to be trundled up and down bearing well-meaning, inspirational messages like ‘THE SPINE HAS ALWAYS BEEN UNDER CONSTRUCTION’?
We note that one of the signs puffing the Spine renovation (no missus, it’ll be worth it, really, hang in there, sunlit uplands, only two more years of this to go, free pies for all, truly, it’ll be great, honest) promises the provision of ‘cutting edge space’. As opposed, we assume, to open space, deep space, hyperspace, safe space… What is this phrase supposed to evoke? We suspect that most people would settle for a space that was flat underfoot and had something overhead to keep the rain off, with maybe a nice picture on the wall. We also suspect that someone sold the University the idea of the giant TV by promising that it would make the Square ‘cutting edge’.
We’ve said our two penn’orth over the last months about the Spine renovation, so we thought we’d wait until it was finished before discussing it properly. (Oh, all right then, just one thought… is it perhaps just a tiny bit… big? Attached to the side of a Russian naval dockyard it’d be just grand, but… Ok, let’s wait and see.) But, there’s no harm in revisiting the question of what the County College folk have done to deserve a fifty yard run through the rain. Wheelchair users now have to cover the best part of 100 yards. Someone will sue.