The scenic HKUST campus continues to grow as it welcomes the double cohort starting from 2012. The new four-year curriculum, which offers both in-depth and a wide range of knowledge, paves the way for student-oriented education and whole-person development.
The University's new buildings and facilities are student-oriented. The Library Extension, which opened in June 2011, features floor-to-ceiling glass windows, outdoor balconies facing the sea, and the Multi-function Room. It provides space for housing media, newspapers and magazines. The new study space, with a variety of furniture, is ideal for individual and group studying.
The Learning Commons (LC) is a 1,800 sq m facility which provides an additional 500 seats to the Library. A user-friendly central place that brings together services, facilities and technology to support teaching, collaborative learning and media production, the LC features e-learning classrooms, tutorial spaces, group study rooms, open study area and a refreshment zone. At the LC, students will find services provided by multiple academic support units including the Library, the Publishing Technology Center and the Student Affairs Office. In order to create an integrated learning hub, the Library will actively explore service partnerships with campus units and departments.
"Occupying an entire floor and giving HKUST's Library a new, second entrance, the Learning Commons provides the option of 24-hour access when needed. Scheduled to open in Spring 2012, it will be divided into quiet areas and discussions areas, rooms to be booked for group discussions, a supporting service area for holding activities and even vending machines," said Mr Mike Hudson, Director of the Facilities Management Office.
The Learning Commons also provides ample space for multimedia learning and creativity. The University's Publishing Technology Center (PTC) will be running a new Creative Media Zone which puts together a media production studio and an AV control room, editing suites and a graphics workshop. The facilities will support digital photography, video recording for presentations and performances, interviews and post-production, as well as digital printing and poster plotting. "Customized training on design and multimedia will be arranged to support students' course work and activities. The Creative Media Zone will promote interactive and experimental learning. It also enhances student-centered learning arising from the new four-year curriculum," said Mr Thomas Ng, Director of PTC.
Below the Library Extension in the extended Academic Building is the University's newly expanded catering facilities which are already up and running. Opened in Fall 2011, the new LG7 catering facilities now provide 1,000 seats and easy access to LG5, another floor with catering facilities via newly installed escalators. "It's 100 meters long – the length of a soccer pitch!" said Mr Hudson. Other facilities to be opened include expanded areas for the Student Union and other societies, which are in line with the University's strengthened emphases on enriched campus life, community and service learning under the four-year curriculum.
Expansion of student hostels is also underway to enhance residential life. Soon-to-be commenced projects include the joint hostel at Tseung Kwan O. "Apart from the two on-campus student hostels (Halls 8 and 9) which will be completed in Spring 2013, the University is exploring opportunities to increase hostel places on campus," said Mr Hudson.
How about transportation arrangements for the expanded student body? "The University is building a new transportation hub for taxis and buses. Subject to approval and further arrangements, the plan provides the option of streaming for passengers at two transportation hubs to reduce bottlenecks and long lineups at the current central location," said Mr Hudson.
With an enlarging student body, The HKUST community definitely longs to see the organic growth of the campus in the years to come.