It’s easy to lose track of the latest infrastructural changes on campus, particularly in first semester, when summer’s dust has barely started to settle and the February heat makes everything a little blurrier than it should be. In any case, if you’ve been anywhere near Science Road in the past few months you’ve probably noticed that the Holme Building, operated by the University of Sydney Union, is undertaking a decidedly committed facelift.
The redevelopment, with a projected completion date of July 2014, has begun to yield some visible changes. The renovations have thus far seen the replacement of the old student lounge with a large memorabilia gift store. You may remember the lounge as housing a number of extremely comfortable and extremely expensive beanbags, which will presumably be relocated to the new student lounge.
“The USU is committed to providing as much space for students as possible, and ensuring student space is not only retained but expanded where possible has been taken into the highest consideration during the planning for this redevelopment” said Hannah Morris, USU President.
Other new facilities will include a restaurant, new bathrooms, and a newly landscaped courtyard.
Andrew Woodward, USU CEO, promised that the Mediterranean-inspired restaurant would cater to vegans and people with celiac disease, and that it would boast “competitive prices”. However, he could not confirm what the name of the establishment would be.
Although many Union Board candidates promise to change or introduce certain features to the union-operated buildings (Wentworth, Manning, and Holme) in their election platforms, the redevelopment is not the direct result of any one director’s election promises.
“It is not the result of an individual director’s policy or vision for the Union,” said Board director Robby Magyar, “but a collective approach towards ensuring the sustainability and relevance of the Union for years to come.”
The inclusion of a lift in the building is also notable, which will improve accessibility to areas that were previously inaccessible to some students. “[This] is a welcome improvement for students facing accessibility issues wishing to visit the queer space in particular.” said Magyar.
The Queer Space, which had previously been accessible only via a staircase, is being temporarily housed in a different part of the Holme building.
The correct pronunciation of the building’s name (‘Houlm’ or ‘Home’) remains an elusive mystery for students and staff alike.