THE UNIVERSITY officially opened the doors of the new Senior High School (SHS) building to 3,531 Grade 11 students at the start of Academic Year 2019-2020.

The Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, O.P. Building, named after the patron of the UST Senior High School, stands 22 storeys tall — the highest among UST buildings.

“The learning environment, the faculty, pedagogical innovations and Thomasian culture [all in the new building will] contribute not [only] to the enrollment numbers but [also] to the meaningful stay of students in UST,” Asst. Prof. Mary Erika Bolaños, SHS principal, told the Varsitarian.

The building, which cost an estimated P2 billion according to UST Rector Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., has a lobby, a cafeteria on the 5th floor, and classrooms on the 10th to 14th floors.

The 10th to 14th floors each contain at least 16 smart classrooms as well as an organization room, a thesis or consultation room and a guidance counselors’ office.

The SHS has introduced the “Wipe Out Waste” or WOW Project to promote a zero-waste environment through the reduction of the use of plastics and containers.

Other facilities like a two-storey library, chapel, gym, auditorium, science (biology, chemistry, physics and physiology-anatomy) and computer laboratories are still under construction. A footbridge that will link the Frassati building to the main campus is also in the works.

The Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, which housed Grade 11 students, is now occupied by the Grade 12 students who were previously dispersed to different college buildings.

Growing pains

Maxine Rose Gonzales, a student from the Accountancy and Business Management (ABM) strand, said her experience in the building so far had been “fun yet a little bit exhausting.”

“In the classroom, the atmosphere is different from the ones I’ve stayed in before, [and] since the chairs and tables are colorful [and] can be rearranged to make a circle, group activities [are made] easier and more collaborative,” she said.

Gonzales said the exhausting part was the long queues at the elevators in the morning and during breaks.

Alexandra Alcazar, a Humanities and Social Sciences (HUMSS) student, said it was very difficult to go to the building as the overpass that would connect the Frassati building to the main campus was still under construction.

The ongoing constructions on the Frassati building are another concern.

“[N]asa taas lang namin ‘yung construction kaya nawawala po kami sa focus and pati yung mga [professors] nahihirapan magdiscuss,” Lyana Salazar, a Grade 11 student from the Health Allied strand, told the Varsitarian.

However, a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics student told the Varsitarian that despite the new building being situated outside the walls of the University and still undergoing construction, she feels safe within it.

[N]apakaraming guards inside and outside the building, and [they are also] strict sa pagsuot ng I.D. at sa paglabas ng [students sa] building,” Melody Castro said.

The Frassati building is the first UST building to be erected outside the walls of the Manila campus since the end of World War 2.

The building’s construction began on October 2017. It is expected to be completed in December this year or early 2020.


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