[WITH GALLERY]: Richard Ward renovations halted

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A modernisation project at the Richard Ward building on East Campus has stalled pending further fundraising efforts.

While the beginning stages of the modernisation project started well, according to Edward Brooks, project architect, renovations have stopped due to lack of funding.

Brooks said: “Brooks said that this project’s momentum is expected to be “stop and start” due to the major work and finances involved.

Richard Ward houses the university’s School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering and is situated on East Campus.

The university has planned three phases of development, estimated at R75-million, for the building’s modernisation project and hired Activate Architect to head the renovations.

Emanuel Prinsloo, director of campus development and planning, said the first phase of the project amounted to R31.5 million.

The Department of Higher Education (DoHET) has facilitated in funding the first of the three phases of this modernisation project. They invested R14-million in this project.

Sunny Lyuke, Head of School of Chemical and Metallurgical Engineering, said: “The main reason for the renovation is to house world class modern laboratories.”

All seven floors of Richard Ward will be modernised. The first phase included renovating the laboratories on floor two and the postgraduate space on floor seven.

“The building is about 40 years’ old and needs to be revamped,” Prinsloo said.

The modernisation is also aimed at expanding teaching and research spaces. The modernisation project aims to; increase the School’s contribution to industry-related research by introducing five new laboratories spaces in biochemical processes, nanotechnology, atomic absorption and volatile organic compounds.

Edward Brooks, the project architect, said they started in November and finished at the end of June with phase one. There was a team of 10 designers who managed and developed the design and at maximum 100 contractors who worked on the ground.

According to the Wits website there has been an increase in chemical and metallurgical engineering students and therefore there is a greater need for infrastructure improvements than before. These changes will ensure the highest levels of teaching are achieved according to the site.

But Prinsloo said: “Nothing will happen in the next six to 10 months.”

He further said once the last two phases have started, they will take approximately 12 to 18 months to complete.

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