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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 1. 4th March, 1957

1957 Freshers will use New Student Building

1957 Freshers will use New Student Building

"Unless there are many major alterations to the proposed plan of action, those who join the College in 1957 may well expect to enjoy the pleasures of the new Student Union Building within the next two or three years," said Students' Association President, John Marchant, in a statement to "Salient" last week.

"It is very much hoped that the working drawings will be ready in time to allow for the calling of tenders and preliminary work to be done in readiness for a start to be made on the building later this year."

This statement followed the glad news announced a fortnight ago that the Government had approved the sketch plans for the building, and agreed to increase its subsidy of the project to £2 for every £1 collected by the College with a maximum grant of £100,000 in the first instance, and in the second instance a subsidy of £1 for every £2 collected by the College with a maximum of a further £15,000. Authority has also been given to raise moneys by loan. The building will cost just over a quarter of a million pounds.

Plans for a new Student Union Building at this College have been discussed on and off over the last thirty years. One look at the decrepit Gymnasium (the dirty cream wooden structure on the south side of the tennis courts) will convince the meanest student of the need for a slight improvement in the standard of student amenities. Compared with Students' buildings in the other three university centres, we stand shamed.

A Students' Building Committee was set up by the Students Association in 1935, and an energetic beginning was made to raising funds. After a stormy career (including a motion by a pre-war General Meeting to donate the proceeds to help Jewish refugees escape from Europe), the work got seriously under way immediately after the war when a levy was added to the Students Association subscription especially earmarked for the Building Fund.

This levy began at 4/- per head, and rose slowly until last year, at the end of a wordy battle, it became £1 per head (which accounts for the apparently large sub of £3,5/- which you are now paying).

The plans for the new building are kept at the Students Association Executive Room, and are open for inspection by students. The building is to be two full stories, plus two half stories, and will occupy the space at present occupied by the tennis courts—with a grand view northward over the city and harbour towards the Tararuas.

The basement floor contains only a gymnasium. The ground floor has the Caf (a big one, with a severable dining room) Students Association offices, and a Games Room (for indoor sports). The first floor is chiefly taken up by the Common Rooms—a large common one, and slightly smaller ones for the respective sexes, though all are connected by folding doors which can be thrown back for gala occasions. This floor also contains an excellent Little Theatre, with ail necessary attachments,—its upper reaches extending to the next floor up, and its lower reaches to the ground floor. There are also a few club and committee rooms, and a reading room. On the roof, the caretaker has a flat, and there is space for the addition of a further story—some day.

Our chief points of criticism would be of the small space allotted to club rooms. Surely the whole heart of the college is its little groups of enthusiasts, and if the new building is not to be a hime for them it can hardly function as the incubator of our corporate life. Already the S.C.M., the Photographic Club, and possibly others, have jerrybuilt shacks scattered about the grounds to hold their lares and penates. Will the new building not gather all these under its all-sheltering wings?

However, the plans are now finally approved, and maybe we should sink our differences in the general delight

The architects say it will look like this

The architects say it will look like this

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that the Government has actually decided to come across with some cash, and that the laying of the foundations is said to be in sight We are therefore prepared to refrain from saying what we had in mind about Salient Room losing its present harbour view in favour of a dingey outlook onto a light-well and a kitchen smoke-stack, and about the extraordinary style of the general architecture.

We therefore refrain from cynical asides when John Marchant says: "I am delighted at the assistance which the Government has given us, and at the kind remarks of the Minister of Education (Mr Algie) when commenting on the impression made on Cabinet by our decision to increase the regular student contribution to the building.

"No one building will contribute more to our corporate life than the new student union.

"I have no doubt that Victoria will increase in stature and grow away from its present status, which is often likened to that of a glorious nights school, as a consequence of the Government's happy decision."