Stellenbosch University residence Huis ten Bosch, which was damaged in a blaze last week Monday, will close for the rest of the semester for repairs, the university announced.
In a notice to university students and staff, vice-rector for teaching and learning, Professor Arnold Schoonwinkel, said they were disappointed because they did not want to keep students apart.
“After investigations, the insurers advised on Thursday, August 15, that due to extensive fire and water damage extending beyond the third floor of Huis ten Bosch, the building would not be safe for habitation for the rest of the semester while repairs are made,” Schoonwinkel said.
“This was a big disappointment as the Huis ten Bosch residents wished to keep their student community together. Stellenbosch University was fortunate to source sections of buildings where they could be placed together in groups for the remainder of the semester, rather than individual placements,” he added.
He said the university was doing all it could to assist students and ensure the move is as painless as possible, so that students can settle into their new accommodation and get up to speed with academic work as soon as possible.
Said Schoonwinkel: “Eventually 31 students were placed in university accommodation; 112 were allocated private accommodation (allocated to four housing facilities in larger groups of between 25 and 40 Huis ten Bosch students).
“Thirteen students chose to find their own private accommodation. By Sunday evening, just about all students had moved into their accommodation for the rest of the semester”.
The cause of the fire is still undetermined and it is a matter the university’s insurers are dealing with, Schoonwinkel said.