With the long-awaited return to campus for most of the Lasallian community, some facilities and buildings within the Manila and Laguna campuses were retrofitted to cater to the required health protocols to conduct in-person classes.
Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities Management Antonio Maralit shares in an email that most of these retrofittings were ensuring the structural integrity of buildings and maintenance of facilities, like escalators, that were disrupted during lockdowns and varying emergency alert levels in Metro Manila.
Additionally, there are also plans to construct new buildings within the two campuses to accommodate the influx of students that were accepted during the online setup for the last two academic years, especially in the Manila campus, according to Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Development Dr. Jason Ongpeng.
Developments in Manila Campus underway
Plans for a new building in the Manila Campus are still up for approval, with budget allocation and identification of other details still pending. But Ongpeng shares that the structure should be completed in three phases. Within the first phase, the building can already be utilized for operations upon its completion in September 2023. The next two phases are for extensions of the building, and will be completed within five to six years, depending on the number of students and other developments that may come up later on.
The proposed building is inspired by Henry Sy Sr. Hall (HSSH), taking its design of having its ground floor be an open space. Should there be severe flooding, the proposed building’s rooms will not be too affected if its lowest floor is designed to have high ceilings and minimal facilities.
Maralit also shares that the Manila Campus is continuing renovation and maintenance activities initially delayed by the pandemic. St. Joseph Hall, Br. William Hall, and St. Miguel Hall will be retrofitted to ensure structural integrity. He notes that this is in accordance with the National Building Code, which mandates that campus buildings’ structures are assessed every 15 years to see whether or not they need to be retrofitted. All three buildings will eventually have earthquake recording instruments, particularly accelerographs, that will measure a building’s position before and after an earthquake.
Escalators in HSSH are also being repaired and maintained, with glass enclosures installed for protection from the weather. Parts of the Brothers Community on the fourth floor of St. La Salle Hall are also being renovated. Maralit explains that these preventive maintenance activities will ensure the buildings’ safety for the Lasallian community come the September campus reopening.
Laguna Campus’ expansion plans
Aside from the Manila Campus, the Laguna Campus is also seeing multiple developments as part of its expansion plan. The new St. Matthew Gymnasium is already close to completion and will be inaugurated by September 21, while the Santuario de La Salle will be consecrated on November 21.
Ongpeng furthers that three more buildings are also in their pre-construction stages. The Clean Building Extension will be a five-story building, to be completed by September 2023, that will house lab classrooms and will be connected to the George S.K. Ty Advanced Instrumentation Building. The Enrique Razon Logistics Institute Building and the University Hall will also be constructed to house more student facilities like research spaces, classrooms, offices, and lecture halls, and are expected to be complete by September 2024.
For the community
Maralit ensures that any renovation and maintenance projects will not disrupt any limited in-person classes as these will be scheduled during the evening and on weekends, in close coordination with various project management teams and contractors. He adds that these projects will be monitored and reviewed weekly to address any challenges that may arise during construction.
“[All of] these projects are part of [the University’s] efforts to maintain and extend the life of its buildings and facilities, as well as for the safety of the Lasallian community,” says Maralit.
Meanwhile, Ongpeng affirms that “students can benefit [from these projects] for having student amenities, learning commons, research spaces, and breathable spaces.”