Can we have Bristo Square back please?
It’s basically the reason we came
Remember when you came to visit Edinburgh on the open day? The sample lectures that were 100 times better than any you’ve had since you got here. The cuppa with mum at the Appleton building cafe. The welcome talk in McEwan Hall.
Walking in to McEwan Hall you were struck by it’s sheer size and beauty – this is clearly a good university you said to yourself, it’s got big old fancy buildings (it’s basically Cambridge with more Buckfast). This is where I’m going to graduate!
Now when you walk past the building where you made your first mark on Edinburgh you’re greeted by a construction site. The scaffolding on Mcewan may be down but the adjacent Bristo Square looks like they’re trying to turn a WWI trench into luxury flats.
The £33m construction work isn’t just an eyesore, it’s a massive pain in the arse. You can’t cut across the square when you’re late for lectures, you can’t eat your lunch on the steps. When the queue for The Big Cheese gets rammed, like it inevitably will this first Saturday back, it can’t snake round the square like some alcohol-fuelled Serpent.
The University says the work will be finished by December 2016, but that means that the graduates of 2015 and 2016 won’t get to graduate from Mcewan Hall like they imagined when they joined. Instead on their special day they’ll be going to Usher Hall, which isn’t even a university building.
Some things won’t ever be the same even after the diggers are gone. The plan is to extend a glass entrance to Mcewan Hall onto Bristo Square (why that is necessary no one really seems to know).
This means that the famous Bristo Square skaters will no longer be able to perform for students and skagheads like they have since the 80s. There are already freshers who have never seen the Bristo Square skaters and now never will.
The University has damaged both students’ uni experience and a part of local culture. I’m sick of having to squeeze past people in that funnel between the construction wall and Potterow and I’m sick of having to walk on the road on Lothian Street to get to the old Medical Building.
They’ve also taken away the crucial Saturday night experience of Smoker’s Wall, where so many young couples started beautiful relationships by sitting down on a wall and flirting. Where else can you can that experience? And more importantly, when will the endless construction stop?
We are all sick of the construction site and would very much like our Bristo Square back please.