Tallinn University of Technology gains a unique student life building
The Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) student building, which had its grand opening on 29 September 2011, is unique in Estonia, if not in all three Baltic countries.
First opened in 1972, the university’s library building was given a full renovation by Merko Ehitus and now the building has more than 2,000 square metres of floor space that can be used daily by students, faculty and guests. The work cost 2.1 million euros.
A large gathering came out for the opening. The new renovation was referred to as the crown jewel of the Tallinn Tech campus, as there had previously been no place where students could hang out and socialize. Now there is such a building. The director of the university library, Jüri Järs, gave three different volumes of the national epic Kalevipoeg to the library as a gift. In his comments, he noted that the library building was built 40years ago, and was then unique, spacious and grand. The spirit of a library could live on in the current student building. That is why we need books there, he said.
Then came the ceremonial moment – the university rector Andres Keevallik, the student government leader Tauri Kärkson and member of Merko Ehitus’s management board Andres Agukas cut the ribbon. The student building was open. In his opening address, Keevallik mentioned that it was a major day. Tallinn University of Technology now has what is perhaps the finest centre for student life among Baltic universities and it extends over 2,000 square metres. “The students have certainly earned it,” said Keevallik. “Our students have more than 40 clubs and many are now based in this building.” The rector added that TUT wants to become a university student-friendly higher education institution and the opening of the student building was a step in that direction. In the near future, TUT plans to build a large swimming pool and an athletics building and renovate the stadium. Keevallik said he was also glad that students will be responsible for managing the building and said they are sure to do well.
Then came another decorous moment, when Juulius, the “eternal student” mascot of TUT, stepped up to the bar counter, poured a special student libation (beer) into jugs and passed them to Kärkson and Keevallik, who brought their jugs together and sampled the brew. Kärkson said that besides the former library, student organizations will also be able to use premises in the rector’s office and that they will make much use of them.
The student building has a total of three stories, a meeting place for different TUT student groups such as the Kuljus folk dance ensemble, AIESEC, the culture club, T-Theatre, film club and others. A relatively large hall can host concerts, theatre performances, conferences or other major events. The Student Building is open every day from 12 noon to 9pm. During that time, students and teachers can drop by, relax and socialize. “For instance, if you have a two-hour hole between classes, you can go there, claim a beanbag chair, sit down, open your laptop and do what you need to do,” says Kärkson.