Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) has set out to accomplish an ambitious plan: in five years, the University will modernise 5 out of 12 of its dormitories. The first dormitory to be renovated is a 12-storey residence hall located at Gričiupio Street 13, in Kaunas.
After the renovation, the dormitories of KTU will meet the standards of any Western-European university, where students’ residences are designed in such a way that they answer all the needs of a contemporary young person.
Expecting state funding
According to Eugenijus Valatka, the Rector of Kaunas University of Technology, the soviet heritage of dormitories is a common problem in the Lithuanian educational sector.
“The living conditions of a student affects not only their well-being but also their study achievements. Studies, exams, preparation time for lectures and assessments is stressful enough, therefore, the living environment must be pleasant and cosy”, says the Rector.
According to him, the project of renovation is aligned with the KTU’s vision to concentrate the University academic life and community in the main campus, where the historical and the most contemporary buildings of KTU are located. KTU Santaka Valley is already serving as a symbolic gate to the campus, in 2022, M-LAB laboratory and prototyping centre will be opened; among the new functional buildings planned to be erected in the campus is also a new multifunctional library.
“KTU is a part of a global consortium ECIU, and our partners are providing us with perfect examples. Also, we are listening to our students aiming to assure that the conditions needed for student accommodation are meeting their expectations”, says KTU Rector Prof Valatka.
The Rector says that the renovation of the dormitories will be financed by the funds, which KTU obtained after selling the unused University buildings in Kaunas centre, in the framework of the Governmental programme.
For the full renovation of all the dormitories, the financial support from the state will be required.
Single rooms – as per students’ wishes
The first dormitory to be renovated is one of the 12-storey KTU residence halls in Gričiupio Street, Kaunas. The modernisation project for this building is already on its way. The preliminary cost of the renovation project is 3 million Euros. If all goes well, the renovation will be finished in 2021.
It must be emphasised that the renovation plan is all-inclusive covering the modernisation of the interior, exterior and outside surroundings.
In the preparation of the renovation plan, the team was communicating with students, and the functionality and quality of student accommodation were among the priorities of the design of the project.
“We were talking with students, and they were unanimously clear that they want to live in single rooms. Single-occupancy is a usual standard across European student residencies, therefore we have decided to implement it here. A small number of rooms will be double to accommodate student couples”, says Svajūnas Jakutis, Head of the Department of Asset Management and Administration.
It is planned, that one typical dormitory floor, which usually occupies 385 square metres, will contain four types of flats, consisting of single and double rooms, and a common kitchen, stairway, balconies, leisure area.
“Every year, students’ needs are only growing. We need personal space, and we want to live in a beautiful and cosy environment”, says Aurimas Garbus from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Design who has been living in a KTU dormitory for several years.
Aurimas is happy that the project is taking into account students’ leisure activities: “I hope that after renovation somebody will invite me for a visit as I am now a final year student.”
Functional zones for studying and watching films
Taking into account the needs and requirements of a contemporary student, every floor of a dormitory will have a common kitchen divided into several functional zones, such as learning zone, cinema zone and other spaces.
During the project, all the windows will be changed, the elevators will be refurbished, the roof will be changed and insulated. In the concept of modernisation of facades, the current structure will be sustained and the walls will be insulated. For finishing, several characteristic materials and colours were chosen to match KTU historical buildings and the University logo.
Also, the roads and the paths leading to the building will be modernised and renovated, the parking lots expanded. In addition, next to the basketball court outdoor gym will be set up, and the benches together with lighting will be installed.
Although the accommodation of students in the aforementioned dormitory due to the modernisation will not be possible during this summer, the students will be offered accommodation in other dormitories. Before accommodating the new residents, the unused rooms will be renovated.