In line with De La Salle University’s (DLSU) goal of being a learner-centered research university and expanding its campuses at the Science and Technology Complex (STC) in Biñan, Laguna and the Bonifacio Global City (BGC) in Taguig, several construction plans are now in progress to address the University’s growing academic and institutional needs.
STC Vice President Dr. Pag-Asa Gaspillo recounts that one of the primary reasons for the expansion to STC is the lack of facilities and congestion experienced in the Manila campus. Utilizing the big space in STC — roughly 50 hectares — was ideal in order to provide more venues for research and industrial zones. “We would like to cater to that, since we want DLSU to move forward in terms of academics, research and some of the measures for performance assessment. So to fulfill that, we have no choice but to expand,” Gaspillo adds.
According to STC Facilities Management Office Director Engr. Bernard Abella, only seven hectares of land in STC is currently developed and being utilized. A sports complex, a chapel, research centers, and other academic infrastructures will be constructed on the remaining land area.
The chapel and sports complex are targeted to be completed by 2016 and 2018, respectively. The design of the sports complex is at par with international standards and it will have tennis courts on its rooftop. A track and field will also be constructed within it.
Two major research centers, the Clean Room building and the Hangar, are just part of other long-term projects that will be used to house the new and innovative programs soon to be offered in STC. The Clean Room building will be used for research facilities, particularly for experiments involving biohazards. On the other hand, the Hangar will house projects completed by mechanical engineering and manufacturing engineering students, such as solar cars.
The construction of the Clean Room Building and the Hangar began last May 2014 and is expected to be completed at the end of this academic year 2014-2015. The two centers came to be as a result of a series of consultations between the design team and the University’s research, science, and engineering departments.
Gaspillo informs it will take decades before the 50-hectare STC land area will be completely exhausted.
Decongesting the Taft campus
In the Taft campus, several construction projects are already underway. Assistant Vice President for Facilities Management Engineer Ronaldo Gallardo shares that the Manila campus was designed for only 10 thousand students. Currently, the total number of undergraduate enrollees exceeds 15 thousand. Gallardo adds that there are only 207 classrooms. “We’re having a difficult time, it’s scarce,” he laments in Filipino, pertaining to the current limited space situation.
Currently, ten classrooms on the eighth floor of the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall are being renovated to become new faculty offices of the Gokongwei College of Engineering (GCOE). To compensate for the decrease in the number of classrooms, seven rooms in the Mutien-Marie Hall are also being renovated to become classrooms. An additional three classrooms are under construction in the spaces vacated by the executive offices on the third floor of the Yuchengco Hall.
Eventually, the faculty offices of the College of Computer Studies will be transferred to the tenth floor of Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall as well, and in turn, the space vacated by the GCOE faculty room will be turned into classrooms.
Explaining the reason behind the reshuffling of room assignments, Gallardo quips in Filipino, “We are relocating some faculty offices to the Br. Andrew Gonzalez Hall, so that building could be decongested. We acknowledge that students are having a difficult time going to and from the 21-floor building, especially if they will come from the main campus.”
Gallardo also emphasizes that the volume of students is larger than faculty members.
DLSU-Fort Bonifacio, Taguig
It could be recalled that last October 2013, DLSU was awarded a lease for a 1,395-square meter piece of land in Bonifacio Global City (BGC) by the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA). The College of Law (COL) will move into the Taguig extension campus and several professional short courses will be offered in the new campus as well. Referring to the proximity of the new campus to the Makati Central Business District, Gallardo highlights that part-time graduate students working in Makati could opt to enroll in the new campus.
The BGC campus is on its pre-bidding phase, construction-wise. The engineer mentions that they haven’t invited interested contractors to bid for the project. “The architect is still finalizing the plan…there are other aspects that are being incorporated to the plan like aesthetics, mechanical, and electrical details. When all of these are finished, that’s when we open the project for bidding,” Gallardo explains.
Whether the administration chooses to expand the campus vertically, to acquire new land to allow for horizontal expansion, or to renovate existing structures to maximize available space, all these projects are geared towards easing the congestion problems being experienced by DLSU stakeholders, particularly the students.