UTS is Getting in Shape

In any war, there are certain months when the conditions are just right for conducting your campaign. For most academic institutions wanting to catch up on deferred maintenance, that time is the summer when there are fewer people around to suffer when the water is turned off, the kitchen is closed and machines come roaring to life. In this regard, this may well have been the busiest summer in the history of UTS with up to four teams of workmen on campus at the same time. We may not all appreciate the significance of “removing the redundant piping from the condensate room” and we may even recoil from the idea of “repairing the main drain for the grease trap” but we can all celebrate the news that the Seminary is getting in shape. Remember how the building would be warm for a while and then itwould become very cold?
Remember how you had to time your shower according to when there would be hot water? Well, that’s all changing thanks to a new heating system. A 4000 gallon oil tank is a mighty thing to behold and when you get two of them together (see picture) and try to visualize the task of installing them in the boiler room with a 3 inch clearance, you’d better know a thing or two about engineering. Jonathan Brundrett, the UTS Plant Director, has a degree in Civil and Structural Engineering from the University of Sheffield but when he was recently asked which manuals or reference books he most commonly refers to, he immediately replied, “Unification Thought. UT always reminds me to look at the Seminary as a body and that’s how we decide on priorities. Right now we have to focus on our systems - the Seminary’s “circulation,” for example, is quite poor and this becomes evident every winter.” In various parts of the building, the walls and floor have been opened up to remove and replace decaying pipes. A constant hot water supply will now be ensured by the addition of two new boilers dedicated to this purpose.

Study Rooms. Lots of heat is nice but if your windows don’t work, of course, you’re likely to waste a lot of money. Thanks to the generous support of the alumni in 1995, we now have new windows in both lecture halls and the dining room. In this year’s phase of this project, all of the senior study rooms also now have new windows. These study rooms were repainted during the summer and a visit by the electrician ensured that all of our students will have access to a power outlet for their computers. Many students also have new desks, chairs and bookshelves. 72 of each arrived during the summer and have been distributed to the study rooms. Not all the news is good. The gymnasium floor has been found to be in even worse condition than we imagined and the gym is closed for the time being. Also, the start of work in the Junior Study Room revealed serious water damage to one of the walls with the result that the scheduled completion of this room has been pushed back to November.

Massena House. The Massena House also received some attention this summer and the north wing has regained some of its former glory. The large meeting room has been refurbished, re-carpeted and has a new lighting system. It is used every Sunday by the local Unification Church whose size is indicated by the 60 children enrolled in Sunday school. The balcony outside this room has been restored and a new rail installed. The room which connects the meeting room to the hallway now looks particularly attractive.

Trimming the Fat. As many of us know, getting in shape also involves shedding some of that excess weight around the stomach. If the Seminary’s stomach is the boiler room (let’s see how long we can sustain this metaphor), then the results have been spectacular. Who wouldn’t be happy to shed 25 tons? Yes, 25 tons of accumulated stuff has been hauled away. Cost cutting and a strict implementation of the Seminary’s budget is also helping to ensure that we become a lean, keen educational machine.

Everything Came Together. “At just the right time, everything was in place for all of this to happen,” said Jonathan. “The news of the deferral of our accreditation by MSA (Middle States Association) was a wake up call and we already had the plans for what we needed to do - we’d been researching and raising awareness for the previous two years.” Jonathan also credits the input of his predecessor, Paul Hewett (UTS ‘94), who was able to provide a very accurate picture of what needed to be done. The key element, however, was money and this is where the Founder stepped in. “When Father gave the direction that this extra support should be given to UTS, that put some real energy behind our efforts. Suddenly, the plans, the need, the desire and the funding came together just as the summer recess was about to begin.” The end of summer did not mark the end of the work. Jonathan had 16 projects slated for September alone. G.D.