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World-class student facility inaugurated at the University of Pretoria

Prof Cheryl de la Rey, Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the University of Pretoria, described last week’s official opening of a new dining hall facility, TuksMonate, as good news for the University. ‘This is a good-news story for the University of Pretoria, as … [it has brought to] fruition … a long process [to] which many people contributed,’ she said.

TuksMonate is a centrally located, world-class facility that offers state-of-the-art services and a seating capacity of approximately 900 to students of the Maroela, Mopanie, Katjiepiering, Taaibos, Boekenhout and Olienhout residences. What used to be dining halls at these residences have now been transformed into multipurpose facilities, such as integrated study areas for students and indoor recreational spaces.

The new dining hall opened its doors earlier this year and has become quite popular among students. TuksMonate incorporates a multifunctional hall that can be used for major events at the University and can also serve as a study area for students since it offers internet and WiFi access.

Prof De la Rey stated that the approach of the University was to provide holistic education, which included students’ residence life. This approach was manifested in the opening of a facility such as TuksMonate. ‘Quality … student accommodation is [a] critical … component of [the] concept of holistic education at the University of Pretoria,’ she said.

In order to meet the challenge of a growing demand for student accommodation at the University of Pretoria, construction has started at two sites with the aim of increasing the number of beds by about 400 by 2015. ‘Expanding our capacity for student accommodation is [an] ongoing process at our institution. This is not only about expansion, but it is also [about] ensuring that current facilities are modernised on an ongoing basis. Modernisation of our existing facilities is a key part of the University’s long-term strategy to ensure that we offer our students an education of a higher quality,’ Prof De la Rey said.

She mentioned that the opening of TuksMonate was also a tribute to the legacy of the late Prof Roelf Visser who had played a key role in conceptualising the project. ‘Today we pay tribute to his leadership and [to the] legacy he left for the University of Pretoria in the form of TuksMonate,’ she said.

Prof Themba Mosia, Vice-Principal: Residence Affairs and Accommodation, reiterated that the University of Pretoria was committed to offering good services to the more than 8 000 students who lived in residences. However, it had to be kept in mind that it was quite a difficult task to cater to and satisfy all their individual needs. He said opening the facility provided the Department of Residence Affairs and Accommodation with an opportunity to reflect on the changes that had been made and that had impacted positively on the students. ‘As we look back we see the realisation of the dream which started eight years ago. It is also a dream which our erstwhile Director of Residence Affairs and Accommodation, Prof Roelf Visser, [pursued] … with passion.’ Prof Mosia emphasised that a great part of the success of the project could be attributed to the support given by the Executive of the University of Pretoria.

 

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