There will be an additional 3,000 undergraduate students at the Chinese University when the '3+3+4' normative curriculum comes into operation in 2012. The existing library will fall short of the demand of the expanded student population in terms of both space and facilities.
This '3+3+4' capital project does not involve building a library afresh. As early as 2005, the University already applied to the University Grants Committee for funds to build an extension wing for the UL. In addition, the University has consulted the University Library System (ULS) on the subject, and it is of the opinion that the new wing will benefit from mutual support from existing manpower and resources if it is connected to the existing UL. This will also provide for more comprehensive services and greater operational efficiency. It is a separate issue whether there is the need for a new library at other locations of the CUHK campus.
The approval for the building of a library extension was obtained from the UGC in November 2006, and the Committee met for the first time the following January. Please refer to the Chronology of Project on this website for details.
Dr. Colin Storey, the University Librarian, is a member of the Committee. The Library Users Group learnt about the proposal for building the extension wing at the present location as early as its 19th meeting, which took place on 7 June 2007. The progress of the Project has then been reported at various subsequent meetings of the Group by Dr. Storey. In April 2008, ie, two months after the UGC handed down its approval for the basement extension proposal, Prof. Michael Hui, Associate-Pro-Vice-Chancellor, gave an introduction of the proposal to the Group.
Proposal 1 is building an extension wing adjacent to the existing UL, with a height above that of the Tin Ka Ping Building.
Proposal 2 is to build an extension which straddles the existing Library Boulevard or Central Avenue.
Proposal 3 is the building of a basement for the new wing involving excavation under University Square to lower the height of the building.
Proposal 1 is the simplest from the design and construction angles. However, it might have impact on the overall perspective of the vicinity, especially the central axis of the campus that is aligned with the University Mall.
Proposal 2 can keep the height of the new wing to a desirable limit, but a massive structure will bring drastic changes to the outlook on Library Boulevard or Central Avenue.
Proposal 3 lowers the height of the building above ground, but it involves excavation work which is technically more complicated and will result in the temporary closure of the University Square.
This proposal will greatly reduce the height of the new building, enables effective connection with the existing buildings, requires less manpower to operate, and will provide more comprehensive services and greater operational efficiency.
It is proposed that excavation begin after the Congregation in 2009 and the work will last for not more than a year.
The University Square and its vicinity will be closed for not more than a year.
Absolutely no. The structure will be reinstated on its original site when the construction work is completed.
The University has always stood by its policy that there should not be any alteration to the University Square in front of the UL. The Beacon is an important landmark that has borne witness to the history of the University and must be restored to its former look when the construction work is finished.
The University will instruct the architect to keep a photographic record of all the existing structures and matters on the University Square and apply the latest technology (such as GPS orienteering) to identify the exact locations of various structures. When time comes for structures to be removed, all parts will be serially numbered and kept in safe custody.
As the University did in the past, there will continue to be exchange sessions in the future and the University will be in direct dialogue with members of the University community to explain the progress of the works and to listen to suggestions. You may also obtain the latest news about the works from this website, and to make suggestions to the Building Committee.
The Library is of vital importance to both teachers and students, in instruction as well as in learning. If the construction works cannot be completed before 2012, the existing library space and facilities will not be able to meet the needs of the time and the quality of education for the students will be seriously affected.
If the project is to be planned and designed again from scratch, then the University has to apply to the Government again for funding. The tendering exercise, the design of the building and the appointment of the architect will have to be done all over again, and there will be no possibility for the extension to be completed before 2012. The extension of the UL is a project related to the '3+3+4' curriculum and the University had pledged its completion by 2012 so as to meet the needs arising from the change in the academic structure. If the University cannot honour its promise, it is possible that the project may be shelved indefinitely and this may mean that there will not be additional library space in 2012 and for some time afterwards.
The University is at one with the students in the understanding and emphasis of the Beacon’s importance to CUHK in both the historical and conceptual contexts. It is now proactively studying various technical possibilities including those that do not involve the opening up of the ground in the University Square at all. However, there are certain factors which must be taken into account in evaluating these possibilities, including cost as this is from the public coffers, the duration of works and technical issues.
The University has never spared any effort in keeping University Square and the Beacon in the best order for the use of both staff and students. The surface material for the Beacon was originally washed granolithic, which was also the material used for the ground surface of the University Mall. However, washed granolithic is easily damaged and there was frequent need for repair works. After years of weathering and serious natural battering, the steps and the ground surface of the Beacon were repaved with granite slabs in 1998 and 2006 respectively.
In 2006 Mr. Zhu Ming, the sculptor, visited the University to supervise renovation work for the sculpture. After discussion with the University authorities the Gate was renamed the Gate of Wisdom, and Mr. Zhu personally provided the calligraphy for the new name. The University incorporated Mr. Zhu’s calligraphy in the newly designed and produced plaque which was installed on the granite surface of the Beacon in August 2007.
The University takes the swifts seriously and will try its best to protect them. The Estates Management Office has surveyed their habitat and the construction company responsible for the Project has also mapped out the plan and measures for protection so as to ensure that disturbance to the swifts during the works would be reduced to the minimum.