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John Galsworthy facilities cause Kingston students grief

By Joshua O'Neill Mar 11, 2016
Credit: Chris Weedon

KU staff and students have slammed the University after an exclusive audit of the JG Building revealed a staggering list of broken doors, out of order toilets and lifts and dirty bathrooms.

The £20 million complex is less than a decade old, but a recent investigation by The River revealed over 20 individual faults within the toilets alone, despite the University spending over £8,000 a year on maintenance and repairs.

The issues discovered included one of four lifts being out of order, 10 broken toilets, six faulty toilet doors, five broken taps, an incomplete sink and an out-of-order disabled toilet.

Shockingly, the main entrance to the building has also been out of order for three weeks and was not in use at last weekend’s University open day, it was finally mended on Wednesday.

Dr Mariko Kishi, senior pharmacy and chemistry lecturer, said: “My main concern is access to the JG building. At peak times, there is a huge volume of students going through the small side door because the main one is out of action.

“I worry that any disabled student or those with mobility difficulties may get hurt when entering.”

The six-storey building opened in 2007 and won a Royal Institute of British Architects award in 2008 under the education category.

The building is celebrated for its sustainability and flexible teaching space and is described by RIBA as an “excellent direct response to a clear brief and a very tight budget, resulting in a pleased client”.

But it seems that students are far from pleased with the features of the award-winning complex.

Third year business and economics student, Dhaval Mehta, said: “There have been countless times when the library has been too busy to use so I use the computer rooms in the JG building.

“The free rooms are supposed to be displayed on the TV screens next to the lifts, but nine times out of ten, the rooms that are free on the screen aren’t actually available.

“This has resulted in me walking into ongoing lectures which not only makes me look like an idiot and wastes my time, but also disrupts the learning experience of other students.

“I’m sure I am not the only one when I say there needs to be something done about it. It is unacceptable.”

The 7,000sqm building has a capacity of 2,500 and boasts 70 teaching rooms of flexible size, has three lecture theatres and is described as the “social heart of the University”.

But the audit, which took place on March 2, found that the standards of hygiene were extremely poor, with 10 toilets being out of order and reports of one toilet even being blocked by a dirty nappy.

“The toilets are completely another issue,” said Dr Kishi. “I can only speak for the female toilets, but some doors don’t have locks, toilets often don’t flush and many of them are blocked.

“I don’t think it is hygienically acceptable at all. It is a disgrace in fact. Considering it is a modern building, the state of the maintenance is extremely poor.”

Dr Kishi also addressed the issue of the heating system in the centrally programmed teaching (CPT) facility.

“The other thing that I have never been happy with is either excess heating or excess cold air,” said Dr Kishi.

“I have lectured students who have been covered in coats because they’re so cold, or practically stripping off because they are boiling.

“It is not a conducive environment for studying and learning.”

Kingston University was unavailable to comment on the matter.

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