A student admissions office in HKU has been turned into 15 car parking spaces after government officials branded the offices “unauthorised building works” and ordered them demolished.
HKU says it received an order from the Buildings Department in February 2018 to remove structures at the upper-ground floor of Knowles Building and to “reinstate the area back to car parking use.”
The JUPAS office served as a one-stop shop for admissions hopefuls, while other admin offices in the same complex processed everything from graduation gown rental to student cards.
Those offices have been occupying the space under Knowles Building for at least 13 years, if not longer: a HKU spokeswoman could not say exactly when the offices had been erected, but that The Knowles Building was completed in the 1970s.
“For works completed a long time ago, it is difficult to retrieve old record drawings and files in full,” she said.
“We have done our very best to meet the requirements of the Building Department in compliance with the Buildings Ordinance,” she said, adding that all unauthorized works have now been removed. “The place has now been reinstated back to its approved use – for car parking.”
The university said it will now seek formal approval to erect new offices in the same location. “The coming works will follow government requirements with the new design formally submitted to the Building Department for approval before commencement of site works,” said the spokeswoman.
The multi-storey car park under Knowles Building already has 176 parking spaces, including several prestige spaces reserved for senior staff: vice-chancellor Professor Xiang Zhang and his “HKU1” luxury Mercedes S-class have the prime spot adjacent to the Knowles Building entrance and Sun Yat Sen Place.
Surely the question is why? Is it just another means of HK govt making extra profits for developers with public money?