With Floodwaters Gone, RUFA Reopens Its Doors

The Royal University of Fine Arts reopened its doors Monday after months of flooding finally subsided, the university’s director said.

Classes were supposed to begin Oct 1 but students have been un­able to access the campus in Russei Keo district’s Phnom Penh Thmei commune owing to two months of flooding at the campus and of the road leading up to the school’s entrance.

“There is no problem to be worried anymore because now we can start the classes,” RUFA Director Po Teang said by telephone Monday.

He said he has also begun to receive applications for enrollment, which had dropped since the university’s north campus relocated to its current site in 2005 as part of a controversial land swap involving the Mong Reththy Group.

While only some students arrived for class on Monday, all students would be in class today, he said, adding that he would add classes and delay vacation to make up for the lost school time.

Po Teang said he was too busy preparing for classes and teaching to worry about damage to the buildings caused by the flooding, though he noted that cracks are visible in the some of the structures.

“I will [send a] request for the filling [in of] the land in the school’s compound and the rebuilding of some buildings to the Minister of Culture and Fine Arts in order to discuss with the Mong Reththy Group,” he said.

The Mong Reththy Group has agreed to pay for damage done to the school’s buildings caused by flooding and improper construction, Tann Monivann, vice president of the group, said on Monday.

“I would rebuild for them, if it has any damage from the flood or technical error in the buildings’ construction,” he said by telephone, adding that he also plans to build new water drainage pipes near the campus and the access road to prevent future flooding.

Culture Minister Him Chhem could not be reached for comment.

Say Sreyoth, a 13-year-old student in second grade at the campus’ fine arts primary school, said flood waters had kept her from school for nearly two months.

“I missed my teacher…and my friends,” she said Monday.

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