– There is no microwave or oven, and only a single stove, says Berit Bjørnholt, who has been living in Block H at Fantoft for half a year and would stay for two more years. She has purchased a microwave for her apartment.
She is not alone when it comes to complaining about “the Old Blocks” (Blocks A to H) at Fantoft. If you have loitered around Klubb Fantoft, or have taken a look at Fantoft’s Facebook group, it is not hard to discover various problems surrounding the Old Blocks, like small kitchens, malfunctioned heaters, old drainage system, poor noise insulation, lack of common areas etc. Built from 1968 to 1971, Fantoft has quite a bit of a history, and many would agree it is showing its age.
Luckily, things might improve soon.
Renovating the Old Blocks
– We wish to improve living quality and social environment at Fantoft, says Sverre Østvold, Technical Manager from Sammen Bolig.
According to Sammen, they have mapped out a long-term renovation plan for Fantoft. Renovation on Blocks C and D is currently underway and is expected to be completed by July 2018. From June 2018 to June 2019, they plan to renovate Blocks A and B; and from June 2019 to July 2020, Blocks E to H.
– We are taking out everything except the concrete; everything else will be new, says Østvold.
He promises larger additional stoves, ovens in the kitchens, complete new baths, new pipes and drains, new floor etc. He also said there will be new elevators and a new heating system which is more energy efficient and eco-friendly.
In Blocks C and D, Sammen is expanding the common kitchens on each floor. They are adding dining tables in these kitchens so that students can cook and eat together.
Brian Lynch, an Irish exchange student living in Block B, thinks it will be nice to have common kitchens.
– It is hard to meet neighbours here, and our rooms are too small to host many friends, says Lynch.
Bjørnholt also welcomes the idea of common kitchens.
– I can teach other people how to make healthy, tasty and affordable food! Studying Japanese at UiB, Berit is also the chef for the Fantoft Breakfast held once every month.
From “Central Parking” to “Central Park”
It is not only about renovating the Old Blocks. According to Østvold, Sammen wants Fantoft to be a model for future student campuses.
– We would turn the car park into a green social place, says Østvold, and the outdoor project will be completed within august 1. 2021.
Right now, the car park is at the centre of Fantoft Studentboliger. Østvold says they want to move it somewhere else, probably under the office buildings, and leave more open space for students to relax or socialise.
– It’s good to have more green space. Fantoft is too grey, says Lynch.
The construction design for the green central space has been contracted to a Danish company called WERK.
Østvold says Sammen is also thinking of expanding the Fantoft gymnasium, with bigger lounge area and more activities. They may add a reception in the post box office as well, so that students can always run into somebody.
– Fantoft is targeting both international and national students, and we will give them a memorable stay in a pleasant environment both inside and out, says Østvold.
This article was written in May 2018.