It is planned that the refurbished twelve-story building on Gričiupio Street 13, Kaunas, will open its door gradually during the semester that begins in September.
“The university not only educates students but also helps to develop their personalities, therefore, education must take place in a suitable, contemporary environment. It includes not only things related to the study process, extracurricular art and sports activities, but also living conditions that would encourage students to collaborate, help them concentrate while studying or relax after classes,” says the Kaunas University of Technology (KTU) Vice-Rector for Studies Jonas Čeponis.
From an old building to a modern student residence
Keeping in mind the necessity for today’s students to live and study in contemporary environment, KTU started the renovation of the 10th dormitory back in 2020.
The refurbished dormitory with a total floor space of more than 4.8 thousand square metres will offer its residents 137 single and 61 double rooms, which will accommodate 259 students. The rooms will be combined into blocks, where the residents will share the hall, kitchenette, and sanitary unit.
It is planned that the price of a dormitory room will vary from 150 to 233 euros, depending on the chosen room and block type. One block will have three single rooms or one double room.
“The decision to choose this type of layout was encouraged by the experience in other university dormitories – single and double rooms are the most popular among students. Also, while preparing the dormitory modernisation project, discussions were held with the members of the university’s Students’ Union, who are in favour of such dormitory rooms where one can have more personal space,” says Director of the KTU Department of Student Affairs, Kristina Skučienė.
On each floor, common kitchens, open-type or with a partition-separated dining area, will invite the students to spend quality leisure time. Here, the residents will find soft seating, tables with bar stools, or an amphitheatre for watching films.
“During the preparation of the dormitory renovation project, the needs of a modern student’s life in a dormitory were considered, where communication, eating, and leisure areas should be common, and resting and studying areas – individual. Contemporary student residences are less and less reminding the dormitories of the past and look more like apartments. We hope that in the common areas, the students will cook dinners, eat together, watch films or just socialise,” says Skučienė.
The residence will open in September
The modernised dormitory is also adapted for the students with disabilities.
“On one of the floors, there are rooms with a kitchen and a sanitary unit area adapted for persons with mobility disabilities. Next to those rooms, there are areas dedicated to assistants, if a person with a disability needs their help. Entrance to the dormitory, access control gates, and elevators are also adapted for persons with mobility disabilities,” says Skučienė.
The 4.5-million-euro dormitory renovation project included not only the revamping of the interior but also its exterior: the facade of the building was thermally insulated, the windows and the roof replaced, and the outdoor grounds are being redesigned. The brick facade of the building has already been replaced by grey and white cladding, echoing contemporary architectural trends.
It is planned that renovated roads and paths will lead to the dormitory entrance, and the students will be able to park their cars in expanded parking lots separated by automated barriers. The outdoor fitness area, which will be installed next to the existing basketball court, will invite students to actively spend their free time there. Also, it is planned to install new benches with lighting nearby.
Although the renovation works are still ongoing, three floors of the dormitory on Gričiupis Street will be waiting for the students from September; it is planned that the rest of the rooms will be occupied by winter.
“During the modernisation process, due to the ambitious vision to turn the building into a comfortable, contemporary student residence, we faced numerous challenges. However, with persistence and concentration, we are at the end of it. In stages, the dormitory will open to its residents in autumn,” says Svajūnas Jakutis, the director of the KTU Department of Asset Management and Administration.
Information about studies and activities – in one place
The Student Information Centre, located in the heart of the KTU Student Campus, Studentų Street 50, which opened in the spring, is already known by students – the staff of Student Affairs, Department of International Relations, and Doctoral School are operating from there.
“This info point is an example of the University’s attempts to apply a one-stop shop principle while answering student enquiries: a student interested in study exchange opportunities, dormitories, or extracurricular activities can get most of the information in one place,” says Čeponis.
The KTU Student Information Centre advises on general issues connected to all levels of studies, including international studies and internships, extracurricular activities, and accommodation. Staff working at the new info point provides information on the “GIFTed” and “GIFTed Masters” talent development programmes, and “SKILLed FinTech” specialised additional education program. They can be contacted to find out about the “WANTed” career competence development, “GUIDed” mentoring programmes, and get acquainted with the “UNITed” and “INSPIRed” activities.
The 700-square-metre space is divided into individual and joint work areas; coloured glass partitions-separated meeting rooms serve the needs of the staff. Due to its excellent location, the info point is easy to reach for students of all faculties located on the campus and the residents of the dormitories.
Campus Library – a multifunctional space serving the needs of students
The integration of innovative centres into already existing university premises is not unknown at KTU – this concept was also chosen for the construction of the KTU multifunctional centre with an integrated library, Campus Library. A 2.4 thousand square metre study space opened to the students and Kaunas citizens in March and is located at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Studentų Street 48.
“Instead of expanding our infrastructure, we take great responsibility to rationally manage the already existing premises, searching for the possibilities of remaking or substantially updating them. This allows us to adapt to the needs of a contemporary university without increasing operational costs,” says Jakutis.
KTU Campus Library is one of the most contemporary centres for work and study in Lithuania. The Library space is separated into four zones dedicated to individual study, events, collaborative work, and recreation. More than 442 workstations are installed in the multifunctional work and study environment.
In the new library, there are 11 areas designed for collaborative work, which can be transformed into larger or smaller workspaces depending on the size of the team.
The need for versatility and functionality was also answered by building the events’ space with amphitheatre seating, and areas for exhibitions and book storage, thus utilising every centimetre of the premises. In the Campus Library, students can rest in the lounges and have a bite to eat or refreshments in the kitchen-dining area.
According to the KTU library director Dr Gintarė Tautkevičienė, from the very first day, the Campus Library became the centre of attraction for students, employees, and the city community: “In a few months since the opening, many events, lectures, presentations, exhibitions, remote events for the students and the academic community took place at the KTU Campus Library. International meetings with the KTU’s partners were organised in the rooms specially adapted for the ECIU University activities.
Premises for the University, city and international events are booked in advance, and we already have bookings for the autumn. It shows that there was a lack of and great need for contemporary, flexible, and welcoming public spaces in the local community.”
In the Campus Library, KTU students, employees, and city residents can use free internet connection and resources, search for information sources, and participate in training or leisure events held on-site. Library services can be used by KTU students, employees and the general public. Upon entrance, the visitors need to present a student or employee credential, or any other document confirming the person’s identity.
The Campus Library working hours vary depending on the needs of visitors: during the semester, it is open until midnight on weekdays, and during the summer months – from 10 am until 6 pm.