Cape Town - Salvage activities have been concluded at UCT’s Jagger Library, and the special collections basement has been cleared of materials.
UCT vice-chancellor Professor Mamokgethi Phakeng said salvaged materials were at various campus locations, including temporary container storage on University Avenue, Upper Campus.
She said the refrigeration containers would in due course be moved to other locations on Upper Campus. A temporary roof had been manufactured and would be installed over the Jagger Library Reading Room by the end of August.
This comes after a devastating fire gutted historical UCT buildings, including the library and the Fuller House student residence leaving hundreds of students traumatised as they vacated their residences on April 18.
“Rebuilding the Jagger Library Reading Room will be part of the ongoing Libraries Masterplan. The entire process is expected to take 18 months," Phakeng said.
On the upper campus residence and Fuller Hall, she said initial findings suggested that 80% of the two residences was usable.
She said most students returned to them on May 7, while about 50 students remained in alternative accommodation.
"The majority of the repair work is now completed, including most of the roof tiling, with all internal repairs completed. Some scaffolding and boarding are still in place to ensure the safety of students and staff," she said.
Phakeng said additional security and access control repair and reinstatement continued; following that, all students would return to those residences.
On the HW Pearson Biological Sciences building, she said temporary roofs have been installed and a waterproofing solution has been applied over the destroyed areas.
“Limited access has been granted to the Department of Biological Sciences staff and researchers, subject to lockdown constraints,” said Phakeng.
She said they expected the teaching laboratories on levels one to four to be repaired in the second half of this year, while the level five Plant Conservation Unit would be repaired next year.
Among other interventions, Phakeng said work has been completed to prevent mudslides on the mountain slope behind UCT Upper Campus.
"We completed an assessment of the forest on Upper Campus, with advice from three independent arborists. We identified the trees that were so badly burnt or otherwise damaged that they would need to be removed."