Recently, we have had an accident at dormitory number 4. The left wing of the building started decaying. But few people know what caused this and how we have been dealing with the problem.
The dormitory was built 60 years ago on the Medichka river, which had been put into a concrete conduit.
There was another river close to it. It also had been buried. At first, there were no problems. But over the time, the rivers started causing problems. At present, they continue destroying foundations of some buildings and causing cracks in their walls. That was exactly what happened with dormitory number 4. There was a crack but it stayed stable for a long period of time. We had tell-tale strips installed in the walls and they did not move for a while. However, over the last six months the crack started to grow. As soon as we received the bad news we closed the left wing and evacuated people from there. Safety always comes first, so we monitor all the buildings we are responsible for.
When we received the signals about the situation, we ordered an expert evaluation of the left wing of the dormitory. It cost a lot of money, by the way. We learned that the walls and the foundation were in very bad condition. Not only rivers caused that, but also the quality of the materials used in the construction of the building. The experts recommended strengthening the construction from the inside. We paid 5 million rubles for the beam in order to do that. Then we ordered a full evaluation of the building that is still in the process and will be finished by the end of May. Soon we will receive a final opinion on whether we should demolish the building or try to reconstruct it.
I want to emphasize that everything that was happening to the building was under control. We decided to wait until the building went down by itself. We did not touch the middle and the right parts of the building because the experts told us it was impossible for the building to collapse at once. But we had rumors around the situation and had to react. So we evacuated all the people and the departments in a pretty short order. We relocated the dormitory, the TSU Hotel, the International Faculty of Management, and the TSU Preventive Clinic.
The students went to live in the Sail Dormitory. Now we are looking for a place for the Hotel. It was a place for a budget accommodation for people who come to the University for student events, such as conferences, summer and winter schools, and so on. It was also a place for visiting international guests – professors, experts, and interns. Now we want to find partners among Tomsk hotels to give us rooms for lower prices under special conditions.
The International Faculty of Management has more problems than any other department. Part of it functions at the TSU Business Incubator building, part of it works in other, not very comfortable premises.
The situation we had deprived us of several thousands of square meters of premises. It is kind of critical for us. So we are looking for options, for example, to rent a building, which, of course, will cost us. And we did not plan it. We wanted to use the money to reconstruct the other six TSU dormitories. Now we have to evaluate every decision we make. And we want these decisions to be transparent for all the staff of the University.
There is another issue I would want to draw to everybody’s attention. I am talking about the TSU Preventive Clinic. We are facing the situation when we have to decide what to do with it. We have to think how we see the future of this place. Now we are losing the building and have to figure out what we are expecting to have in the future. We have established a working group that consists of the TSU Union, the TSU social offices, the experts from the Faculty of Sports, the TSU Law Department, and the staff of the TSU Preventive Clinic. We agreed on creating several scenarios. But the first thing we have to figure out is what function the TSU Preventive Clinic is supposed to fulfill. Is it a place for the staff and the students to relax, or to get some medical help, or to cure their occupational diseases?
The analysis showed that only 80% of our students used the opportunity to get medical help from the Clinic. Most of the students used the opportunity to rest from the crowded dormitories. The staff are mostly interested in receiving subsidized drugs and procedures. But probably it would be enough to have a medical office on the campus for that.
Now the working team is considering what the staff want. Besides, it is important to detect occupational diseases. For students those probably are digestive disease and scoliosis; for professors - cardiovascular diseases, osteochondritis, and eye problems. There are other places in Tomsk to deal with all of those but we have to do preventive work.
We spent over 20 million rubles every year for the Clinic. Social support of our staff is a priority for us. We are ready to spend this money in the future. But we have to find ways to spend it more efficiently. Maybe, we will satisfy the demand by having several specialists working for us. We might use services from the outside and send our staff to Siniy Utyes or Kluchy sanatoriums. Or maybe we should open our own Preventive Clinic in suburb? But we will need more money to pay for it.
I personally believe it is necessary to go outside the city to have an opportunity to reboot oneself. Going from one medical office to another may solve only very urgent problems. Sometimes it is good because it is not always possible to leave work and family. So we need something on the campus. Like massage services and some physiotherapy.
We often discuss education models. Today we also need to discuss social support of the staff and the students of the University. Their health is the most important asset we have at our disposal. I want everybody to join this discussion. Together we can find proper solutions!