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Fine arts university to relocate

Pech Sotheary / Khmer Times Share:
The new university site will provide more space for the next generation of students. KT/Chor Sokunthea

The government will spend at least $12 million to relocate the Royal University of Fine Arts (RUFA) and build a cultural center on four hectares of land in Chroy Changvar district, while the old university buildings will be used to expand the National Museum.
Culture and Fine Arts Minister Phoeung Sakona said yesterday that the decision to relocate RUFA, which is now behind the National Museum, was made to make the school more spacious and strengthen education in the fields of culture and fine arts.
“We will create a new university which is more spacious than before and expand the capacity of the next generation,” she said.
“We will also expand our museum as we will take statues and relics that are stored in the warehouses to exhibit. Our museum lacks places to exhibit, so we will expand further.”
According to Ms. Sakona, engineers are studying the master plan for the new RUFA building, which includes apartments for students from the provinces. The project will break ground in April before the Khmer New Year.
On National Culture Day on Friday, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the government would spend $12 million in the first stage of construction for the university on three hectares of land and build a cultural center on one hectare of land in the capital’s Chroy Changvar district.
“Now, the important thing is to arrange the amount of $12 million as soon as possible,” he said.
“We can do it step by step to push the project forward. So we will have a new university and hope that we won’t have to wait three years. It’s important to start this project as soon as possible.”
Mr. Hun Sen also confirmed that he would get foreign assistance to build the new university and luxury cultural center.
RUFA was originally named the Royal School of Fine Art, or Sala Rachana, and was built in 1918. It became RUFA in 1965. Students can choose majors such as archaeology, visual arts, architecture, urban management, music and choreography.
A freshman at RUFA, who asked not to be named, said the relocation will make the school more spacious and modern, however he personally wished it would not move as it has existed at its present location for nearly a century.
“I love the current school because it has many years of history. Soon they will hold its 100-year anniversary,” he said.
“The older students have had so many memories there – they slept there and have many friends. So they don’t really want it to change, everybody loves this school.”
The government plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the university from March 23 to 25.

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