Konkuk University is well known for its large and beautiful campus. Moreover, the sophisticated and modern-styled buildings make KU students feel proud as a member of this group. However, there are also students studying in inadequate facilities. Not only do the shabby studying buildings look run-down, but they also irritate students studying in this type of atmosphere - which is a violation of the “right of learning”. The Konkuk Bulletin will report on the current situations of the “College of Liberal Arts”, “College of Education”, and “College of Engineering” buildings, by examining the external and internal sides, and suggesting practical solutions. As mentioned above, KU possesses various luxurious buildings such as “Sanghuh Hall”, the “Hae-bong Real Estate Building”, the “New Engineering Building” and so on. Not only are the exteriors awesome, but also the equipment inside the building is convenient, which gives students a better place to study. However, buildings such as the “Liberal Arts Building”, the “Education Science Building”, and the “Engineering Building” are so old that it seems impossible for students to concentrate while staying in these buildings. For example, students suffer from old facilities such as unreliable computers, noisy projectors, blurred screens and so on. These students
sometimes have to change classrooms, since it is not available for professors to keep on
lecturing. What was worse, in the Liberal Arts Building, there is a big crack in the ceilings of room 307 and 308, and students could see the sky through the hole. Since each building is a place for studying, it does not have to be luxurious. However, these three buildings are so old that it disturbs the students’ concentration. To highlight these inconveniences effectively, the Konkuk Bulletin will discuss each building by dividing them into external and internal problems.
1) The Liberal Arts Building
- External Aspect
Unlike other modern buildings, it is made of old white concrete, which is not only outdated in design, but also cracked in places, and it is becoming much worse. The pipes are connected in an unkempt and, insecure way, and the color of the building itself is not clear and is stained with mold and dust. The bulletin board located in front of the Liberal Arts building is also dotted with tacks and staples, making it look bad and very dangerous for students, since it always has a chance of stabbed.
- Internal Aspect
The windows have rust on them and big nails stick out all over the hall which is not good for the image of the building and are sometimes dangerous for students. The broken walls have been filled with urethane foam, but they do not have been properly finished, which makes them yellowish and unkempt. The floor is also old, broken and cracked. The ceiling is very high, which makes it hard to reach, so there are cobwebs hanging everywhere. Pipes and wires are stretched above the ceiling, which looks ugly, and also means there is the risk of electric shock.
2) The Education Science Building
- External Aspect
The color of the exterior walls of the building is mixed and gives an unhealthy and shabby image due to the dust, cobwebs and molds. Since the building is located on a high-altitude area, there is the danger of an accident. However, KU only hung an off-limits
cordon and did not take proper action to fix the problem.
- Internal Aspect
The building itself is hard to heat the overall environment. The material used for the floor is so old, that it makes the cold building colder. Since the floor is cold, the heating system cannot efficiently heat the floors and the walls. The male bathrooms always stink, and it is not because of the inappropriate usage. The stink comes from the old toilet pipes. Both the female and male toilets are rusty, so the water from the sink is also contaminated, which is harmful to studentsʼ health. Moreover, the paint of the building has peeled off all over the place. The lecture hall where many students attend lectures has also aged, which makes studying uncomfortable. The inside of the building is also generally dark.
3) The Engineering Building
The building materials are scattered randomly around the back of the building. The area leading to the laboratory is also not organized. Also, the blocks on the floor are rough, so there is a high risk of tripping.
- Internal Aspect
The ceiling of the building is excessively low, and the corridor is also narrow, making it difficult to get through. The whole building looks shabby because of the old facilities.
Other buildings have been remodeled or repaired when their appearance or interior has worn out, so the Liberal Arts, and the Education Science buildings should be repaired as well. The newly elected student council president promised to repair these old buildings as their pledges, but how exactly is the student council planning to solve the problem? Then
what plan does KU have? The Konkuk Bulletin interviewed student council <To Twenty> and KU Facility Management.
1) An interview for the repair of the buildings to be taken by student councils ; <To Twenty>, 2020
Q. As we can see from the commitment, <To Twenty> pledged to repair the old buildings for students in KU. What buildings do you plan to improve?
A. The building we promised to repair is the “Student Union Building A”. The other similar commitment might be “changing the environment by accepting KU students’ needs”. For the Student Union Building, we are planning to build better facilities for disabled students.
Q. What is the hardest element of repairing the buildings?
A. The reason for difficulties, is that it is hard to secure a budget. Most of the facility maintenance for the building requires a large budget. Therefore, the Tuition Review Committee (TRC) should analyze and request school accounting data to secure the required budget. One of the five goals of the TRC for this year is, expanding the overall budget for “improving the educational environment for students in KU”. We will do our very best to ensure that the tuition is reasonably used for KU students only.
Q. What is the precise program for keeping these promises? If the plans do not work, are there any alternative ideas?
A. The current TRC will deliver our opinions and secure the maximum facility budget. I will inform the school headquarters that the various problems arising from the institutional aspects are a serious breach of the right to education, and to accept the requirements that include measures to solve the facility problem. Following that, we will attempt to secure the relevant budget. As far as the alternative ideas are concerned, before the first semester begins, we are planning to launch an Education Environment Improvement Committee. Through this, we will collect complaints about the facilities from KU students, and then request that the school figures out a way to improve the situation.
2) An interview about KUʼs plan to take action to improve the old buildings.
Q. There have been steady complaints regarding the repair of old buildings, but why have
not the repairs been done yet?
A. In the case of the Liberal Arts Building, it has been chosen as a preservation building by the Seoul City Program, which makes it hard to repair.
Q. Are there any plans to guarantee students’ right to study in an appropriate environment?
A. The Engineering Building’s classrooms are already under repair, and they are going to be finished before March. We are also planning to redesign the external aspect of the Education Science Building in 2020. Lastly, the Liberal Arts Building will also be repaired by removing asbestos in 2020.
Q. Are the plans to repair old buildings viable?
A. KU will try the very best to make things better for students if the work can be done below budget. Also, since 2016, we have undertaken more than 400 projects to improve classrooms and laboratories in the Liberal Arts, Education Science and Engineering Buildings.
The table below shows each building’s year of construction and buildingʼs safety grade. According to the interview with the KU Facility Management all three buildings were graded “B”. However, the grade seems doubtful since each building looked very old with many cracks and flaws. Also, the responses from both <To Twenty> and KU Facility Management sounded passive. The editor expected a more enthusiastic response for long-suffered students. However, both organizations said they would only handle the problem if it is available in their budget. The Konkuk Bulletin strongly demands the better studying environment, and more secure solutions for the students in KU.
Universities are ultimately places to acquire knowledge, and KU students have also worked hard to enter this school. However, the different studying circumstances students face, depending on the major they choose, is absurd. The school should recognize the responsibility they have for the repairs to the buildings, especially to guarantee the learning rights of all KU students. At least the unfortunate learning environments should not cause students to become dissatisfied with their majors, or be unable to concentrate on their studies.
Seok Min-ju, Editor-in-Chief email@example.com
<저작권자 © 건국불레틴, 무단 전재 및 재배포 금지>