Shortly after the fire broke out in Huis ten Bosch at around 19:00 on 12 August 2019, and all 164 residents were brought to safety, Prof Wim de Villiers, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of Stellenbosch University (SU), addressed the students confirming that they will be supported and be “looked after”.
On that night, he also expressed his gratitude for the help and co-operation received from many people in and around Stellenbosch. Little did he know that more help was on its way from the wider Huis ten Bosch and SU community.
Thank you very much for your positive response when a fund was established to assist the students who lost their belongings in the fire, but also due to smoke and water damage.
Here are some more facts:
- The roof above eight rooms on the third floor of Huis ten Bosch was destroyed.
- Because fire drills in SU residences are held frequently, the Huis ten Bosch residents responded quickly when the alarm was raised. One student was treated for burn wounds to her hands, and another for smoke inhalation. No other injuries were experienced!
- When it was safe to do so, residents in the other sections were escorted to collect their personal belongings.
- An assessor evaluated the damage on 13 August and it was decided that all the residents would be provided with alternative accommodation in other residences in 2019.
- The Development and Alumni Relations Division set up a donation page on the crowdfunding GivenGain platform, requesting donations to assist students with personal losses.
- To date, we have received donations in the amount of R81 525. Thank you!
- A committee, who manage this fund, allocated an equal amount to each of the affected students so that they could replace what they had lost.
- The remainder of the amount will be utilised for items in the common areas when the students move back into the res in 2021.
- Marsh, an insurance broker and risk management firm, donated brand new laptops to the 15 residents who lost theirs. A big thank you to them too!
In terms of the rebuilding process:
- This commenced in September 2019. It is envisaged that the facility will be completed and operational in 2021.
- The cost of this construction will amount to at least R62,5 million.
- The burnt section of Huis ten Bosch is currently (March 2020) 95% complete.
- The construction work is aimed at ensuring that the residence complies with municipal safety regulations.
- Installation of new fire doors and frames are in process.
- A major intervention is the addition of kitchenettes on each floor. These areas will provide a safe place for students to heat up their own food.
- Before the fire, only one double 3-pin socket was available per room. Each room will now also have a dedicated fridge socket as well as two isolators for future wall heaters. Each student will furthermore have access to one data point, two 3-pin sockets and two slim line sockets.
- The residence will also undergo a completely new IT installation.
- Half of the bedrooms on the second level have timber floors on top of the concrete slab. These are in a terrible state and in need of replacement.
- The existing timber dining room floor has also reached the end of its life cycle and will be replaced.
- Huis ten Bosch will be a state-of-the-art residence in 2021! Please come and have a look when all is done and you are in Stellenbosch again.
In terms of the students:
- Huis ten Bosch welcomed 18 newcomers in 2020.
- A group of 72 Huis ten Boschers are residing in the newer wing of Huis Marais – known as Huis ten Bosch 2020 – while a number of senior residents are accommodated in alternative housing on campus and in town. (Huis Marais did not have an intake of newcomers in 2020).
- According to the residence head and the members of the HK, the team spirit of the group is as good as always. The new intake enjoyed the welcoming programme.
- Other HUIS-sake are going ahead as before.
Thank you again for your contribution. It is at times like these that we know that the Matie-spirit is alive and caring.
Once a Matie, always a Matie!