Lasallians’clamor for space cannot be denied, what with the campus congestion very apparent at the canteens during lunch time or at the SJ Walk during breaks.
Fortunately, the ongoing construction of the Centennial Building and the administration’s plans to extend to the De La Salle Canlubang (DLSC) campus make it clear that the University strives to address the problem of congestion in campus.
Congestion becomes more congested
The problem of congestion refers to the insufficient campus space occupied by a large student population. Strictly speaking, congestion is overcrowding.
DLSU stands on a 54,500-square meter land with a 136,685.98-square meter floor area, consisting of nine classroom buildings and 10 other buildings either for administrative or recreational purposes. A new addition to this list will be the Centennial Building, which is projected to finish by 2012.
However, the DLSU population has been continuously growing, resulting in the present congestion in campus. The enrollment growth rate of DLSU is from AY 2008-2009 to AY 2009-2010 is 27.7 percent, which is quite alarming when put side-by-side with the Philippine’s population growth rate on the same year, 1.96 percent. It only means that the rate by which the University accepts new students is far greater than the rate by which Filipinos reproduce.
Elise Rivero (III, ISJ) continues to yearn for a wider campus. She expresses her disappointment over the construction on the football field, especially since it is the only area in the University with “decent breathing space.”
While this is so, some students like Jerone Cruz (II, AB-PLM) hold a different view on the whole congestion issue. “If ever they can make a better structural format to delineate the loss of scenery, then maybe, it will not be seen as a loss but an improvement of the campus [not only in terms of] infrastructure but also in terms of the students’ exposure to growth.”
In AY 2009-2010, each student had 7.10 square meters for himself or herself, according to the population density of DLSU that time.
Even if the place seems adequate, it still does not address the probem of the students coming to the same place at once. The uneven distribution of classes throughout the day also does not help.
One clear solution to this problem on space is vertical expansion; hence, Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall, the tallest education infrastructure in the country, was built. However, this solution yielded side effects. Long lines for the overcrowded elevators greet the students at the lobby of this building. In response, the administration appointed elevator operators.
Apart from this, the usual system of having most, if not all, freshmen classes in Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall has changed. DLSU President Br. Jun Erguiza FSC clarifies that the freshmen may now have classes in the main campus and the upperclassmen with small class sizes may have their classes at the Andrew building.
Tying up with DLSC is one way of dealing with the issue of congestion. Six of the 50 hectares of DLSC are still unoccupied. Since the campus is located across the Laguna Technopark, it is planned to serve as an extension campus for DLSU’s Colleges of Science, Computer Studies and Engineering.
If these colleges will be transferred to Canlubang, the Taft campus will become less populated. On the downside, DLSU may lose a number of enrollees due to some factors like accessibility. Transportation or lodging will also cost more.
Another solution for the impeding space problem can be the Centennial Building or the Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, which will majorly contribute in decongesting the campus. With 13 floors and a three-storey-high open area, this building will provide Lasallians a total floor area of 40,000 square meters.
Henry Sy, Sr. Hall will benefit more people than the football field did, since the latter was only used for athletes’ practices and Lasallians’ P.E. classes, among others. Erguiza describes the Centennial Building as “a common place where people can learn”.
Conference and seminar rooms, discussion areas for study and research and the University library will be housed in the new building. The Centennial Building is targeted to be finished before the end of the centennial year.
Suzette Maala (II, ECE) finds that the Centennial Building will provide convenience and add to campus development despite the need to sacrifice the football field.