The May 2016 Sports Hall Incident has been an important lesson for CityU, and the University has worked hard over the past six months to restore operations and enhance campus safety.
An independent Registered Structural Engineer (RSE) was engaged to assess all our green roofs immediately after the incident. Based on the RSE’s recommendation, all green roofs not in the original building design (i.e. added subsequently) were removed by 10 August. To further ensure safety, follow-up inspections for other buildings on campus started in October.
Through our staff’s concerted efforts, the University managed to secure temporary space on campus to reopen the Physical Fitness Room on 20 July, and the Table Tennis Room on 22 August. The Swimming Pool was re-opened on 5 October. It is expected that sports facilities in Phase II Wing of the Sports Hall will be re-opened after inspection and refurbishment in late 2016/early 2017.
A Cross-departmental Contingency Planning Working Group chaired by the Vice-President (Student Affairs) was established to identify temporary facilities, both on and off campus, to support University PE classes, sports team training and the general recreation needs of staff and students in the new academic year. These contingency arrangements have supported a total of 67 PE courses this semester. These arrangements will be further reviewed at the end of the year.
As recommended by the Investigation Committee (IC), a disciplinary committee was formed to investigate whether there had been any breach of standards of behaviour or misconduct by members of staff managing the roof greening project, and to determine whether any disciplinary action would be appropriate. The Committee is making good progress and has held 12 meetings so far.
The University has received a report from our external consultants regarding three possible options for the re-provision/re-construction of the sports hall complex based on preliminary feasibility studies completed in August. The University will draw up a proposal based on further feasibility studies by the consultants and input from various stakeholders. This proposal will be submitted to the Council for consideration and decision later this year.
Two separate task forces, with the participation of external experts, were set up to review the organisational structure and project procedures of the Campus Development and Facilities Office. The reviews started in August and are expected to be concluded in November. Going beyond the IC’s recommendations, the University has also taken the opportunity to review and strengthen the current institutional set-up for the management of critical incidents.
Once again, I wish to thank the campus community for valuable assistance in enabling the University to move forward and improve.
President and University Distinguished Professor