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“The shortest distance between two points is under construction”, once quipped Leo Aikman. Well, it’s not literally true for our institute. However, there is always some construction going on around here. Our brief for this piece is the renovation of Student Activity Centre (SAC).

As one might have noticed while roaming around in the institute, the old swimming pool area is under construction. The plan is to have a full-fledged State Bank of India (SBI) branch at that location. Once this is complete, the main gate branch will go out of service. Evidently, this new branch will be in close proximity of the residential area and convenient to the student community.

The renovation of facilities under Gymkhana was divided into three phases. In phase I, the new swimming pool and badminton court was constructed. This was followed by phase II -in which the new SAC building in Gymkhana grounds, basketball and indoor cricket facilities were added. Now, in phase III, the SAC renovation will be done.

However, the gymkhana in-charge, Mr. Edwin M., has not been asked to submit requirements, as of now. Obviously, renovation would temporarily hinder the regular activities in SAC. He said that various clubs will be provided temporary facilities within the new SAC building till the new infrastructure comes around. The construction may be done on a step by step basis i.e. some facilities will be renovated while others are still in use.

The weightlifting room will be shifted to the new SAC building. The gym room will also be relocated there, once the gym is completely functional. The equipments of the old gym room will be donated to one of the hostels on the decision of the administration.

Mr. Edwin added that he will recommend much better facilities than those we have in SAC now. He would like to have separate cubicles for the different councils. He also said that a more spacious conference room with better seating plan and video conferencing system is needed.This may be done by combining the current conference room and the SAC library into one facility. Additionally, a mini conference room is also needed so that simultaneous meetings can take place in the two. Presently, the only conference rooms in SAC is often booked late into the night.

The Dean IPS has approved a visit by the Design Cell team to draw the plans. The offices of instructors and sports officers will also be redesigned because the currently allocated office space in SAC is insufficient. The plans may have been delayed due to financial crunch and priorities of the administration.

Given the increasing intake of students into the institute every year, the pressure on the old facilities is bound to multiply. Hopefully, the completion of this phase of renovation will ensure that the Gymkhana is equipped with adequate and modern facilities at the IITB community’s disposal. This is, indeed, a welcome step.