Joey Roberts, Observant
MAASTRICHT. Two large white tents, model festival tent, have recently been installed behind the Turnzaal on the Grote Gracht. Since the start of the academic year, they function as additional tutorial rooms. The largest (25 by 15 meters) can accommodate 55 students in a Covid-19-proof setting, the second (15 by 15 meters) 40 students.
The tents are not an unnecessary luxury, because the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (Fasos) can only use thirteen of the thirty teaching rooms, says caretaker Armand Schoonbrood. "The others have no mechanical ventilation or are too small for a full tutorial group." After all, Fasos has not opted for tutorial groups in which only half of the group participates is on site, and the rest is present online. The tutorial groups of the bachelor's are online until Christmas, those of the master's are on campus.
Tough hill to climb
The first plans were made in June, construction started at the end of July, says Schoonbrood, who led the project. It was a “tough hill to climb”, he says, “they are special tents that have to meet all kinds of requirements. The floors are insulated and fireproof, the roof tarpaulins are new and do not allow light through, the side walls are not made of tarpaulin, but by order of the municipality of fire-resistant material, there is heating and a ventilation system that supplies 25 cubic meters of fresh air per hour per person present into the tent.” There is contact with the Turnzaal via two fiber optic cables, so that a PowerPoint presentation can also be seen directly in the tent.
In the coming weeks, smoke detectors will be placed that are in direct contact with the control room of the South Limburg Fire Department. Until then, just in case, there are a few large fire hoses in the street from the Turnzaal to the tents. The faculty recently renamed it Griekse Gracht (Greek Canal) with a real street sign. This has everything to do with a work of art by Jan van der Ploeg that has recently been unveiled in the street and is reminiscent of the Greek flag.
The permit has in principle been finalized, says Cerien Streefland, director of Fasos. “Every year during the introduction on this site, we have a tent to welcome the first-years, for which we have an event permit. We initially extended it. But now, after consultation with the municipality, which has come to see whether the tents meet all safety requirements, we receive a ‘gedoogvergunning’ (‘tolerant permit’).”
The two tents will remain in place until at least Christmas, but depending on the developments regarding corona, this can also be longer.