Sheltered walkway built outside Central Forum - finally
By Jason Hau
Aug. 16 2009
NUS students returning to campus from the summer break may have noticed a prominent change in front of the Central Forum.
A canopy has been built to create a sheltered walkway between the Central Forum and the Central Library bus stop. The canopied walkway also serves as an extension to the Forum, giving students more space to move about.
A joint initiative by the NUS Office of Estate Development (OED) and CPG Consultant Pte Ltd., the entire project took less than three months to complete.
For returning students, however, the completion of the covered walkway may seem like a feat in itself. Promises and plans for a sheltered walkway had been in the air since many of them were freshmen.
“I have heard of promises to construct a covered walkway ever since I was in my second year, and that promise has been fulfilled only after I have graduated. I guess it is better late than never,” said Elvin Tan, who recently graduated from NUS.
According to Raymond Chua, an associate director with OED, the NUS Students’ Union (NUSSU) had been working with OED on potential designs for the walkway for a considerable period of time.
Chua told the Observer that the reason for the delay was that earlier designs for the canopy did not meet three key criteria: design, function and fire safety. The current design, which is more cost-effective than the initial ones, was adopted after an external firm was engaged.
Chua explained that the structure had to be open, provide shelter to the bus stop during heavy downpours and be tall enough that the fire brigade can still access both the Central Forum and the fire access panels on the upper floor of the Central Library.
Despite the long wait, many students and staff welcome the new addition. Third-year computing student Tan Wei Zhao is one such student who is pleased with the new canopy.
“Previously, we had no way of getting to the bus stop without getting soaked (by the rain). Now with this shelter, there will no longer be a need to make a dash for it and risk slipping on the wet floor,” said Tan.
However, some students, such as Lin Jiamin, have been less than impressed with what they have seen thus far.
“The covered walkway leading from the forum is so narrow and the railings at the side of the walkway going towards the bus stop are redundant and obstructing the way,” said Lin, a third year undergraduate.
“Why build such a big canopy only to create a chokepoint at the walkway to the bus stop, which is what it is going to being used for anyway?”
Chua nevertheless feels that the covered walkway will serve another purpose in addition to providing shelter.
“The most ingenious function of this new canopy is that the canopy provides sufficient interaction space within to facilitate chance-meeting amongst staff and students, so as to encourage communication and exchange of ideas,” he said.