New space for teaching and learning opened at the University of Pretoria

Posted on April 23, 2012

The Thuto Building is the first academic building on the University of Pretoria’s Campus, to be given a name taken from an indigenous African language. Thuto is a Sepedi/Sesotho and Tswana word meaning education or learning.

To address the need for larger teaching spaces at the University of Pretoria, each of the two-levels of the new building has two 600-seat lecture halls.

The Vice-Chancellor and Principal Prof Cheryl de la Rey, has described the opening of several new facilities since the beginning of last year as a manifestation of the University of Pretoria’s major infrastructural renewal and revitalisation project. She said that the University of Pretoria aims to create facilities that will accommodate the accumulated growth of students as a result of increased undergraduate student enrolment over a number of years, and to gear the University for the future.

According to Prof De la Rey, the new building will allow the University of Pretoria to provide effective teaching and learning, particularly to its undergraduate students. To this she added: “We wish to be internationally renowned as a research intensive university, and such an achievement will be dependent, to a large extent, on the quality of our undergraduate education. The quality of the University’s undergraduate education is, in turn, determined by the quality of its academic staff and its teaching spaces and facilities”.

Prior to the construction of the building, 15 of the approximately 43 large trees on the site had to be removed and 29 were retained. Eleven of the trees that had been removed were transformed into public sculptures by final year Bachelor of Arts students and seven of the sculptures were eventually chosen to be incorporated in the site design.

In collaboration with the architects, the sculptures were symbolically placed on all the main pedestrian routes leading to the site. They are specifically positioned for public interaction and form an integral part of the gathering spaces around the building.

From left to right: Prof Niek Grové (Registrar), Prof Cheryl de la Rey (UP's Vise-Chancellor and Principal) and Prof Antonie de Klerk (Executive Director) after opening the plague.

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