Tentorium Opened

Today, 4th November 2002, Sir Colin Lucas, Vice Chancellor of Oxford University, opened the new administration and equipment building in the University Parks.

Sir Colin Lucas
Sir Colin Lucas, Vice Chancellor, at the opening of the Tentorium

The new building has been named the Tentorium (Latin 'something stretched out' or 'a shelter made of stretched skins, cloth or similar'). It is however far from a rudimentary dwelling and is a purpose-built administration and equipment block. The Chairman of the Parks Curators, Anthony Smith, noted that the building was internally funded to 80% by the University Parks; this was highly commended by the Vice Chancellor.

Sir Colin noted that the University Parks was "always as it had been but was also very much changed", a reference to the the fact that it remained a place of public recreation and private reflection whilst the activities of the University Parks' staff had extended greatly as their remit now covered the maintenance of the majority of the open spaces and gardens within the University - including the design and maintenance of the Vice Chancellor's own garden.

Opening plaque

To commemorate the opening of the building Sir Colin unveiled a plaque in the equipment bay of the new building. This will house the sophisticated equipment which enhances the Parks staff's productivity. The Superintendent of the Parks, Walter Sawyer, thanked the Vice Chancellor and the many other people who had helped in the progress of the new building. Especial thanks were given to Parks staff whose efforts had allowed the building to be built rapidly and mainly from the Parks own funds.

Reception in Tentorium
Guests inspect the new common room in the Tentorium

Walter Sawyer then showed the Vice Chancellor and guests around the administration part of the building. The upper part of the building houses offices, changing rooms and a common room. The offices now benefit from a direct connection to the Internet allowing rapid exchange of information with other University departments. The unobtrusive design of the building, with a flat roof and dark wooden cladding helps it blend into the copse near the Rainbow Bridge.

To conclude the celebrations the Parks Curators invited the guests to a buffet lunch in a much older building - the Cricket pavilion built in ~1880 by Jackson.

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Author: Dr Ian Plummer
Copyright © 2004
The Curators, Oxford University Parks