Published: 2021-12-05 at 16:27
Administrator

The Faculty of Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb strongly opposes the removal of buildings 59, 60 and 61 from the site, as anticipated by the Architectural Project of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service dated June 2021, in the Construction Project for the Removal of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service dated 17 February 2021 and in accordance with point V of the first-instance Building Permit No. 349/2021 issued by the City of Zagreb on 18 October 2021. This is evident from the Appeal Against the Demolition of Buildings 59, 60 and 61 on the Borongaj Campus, which was unanimously adopted by the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb on 1 December 2021.

The Faculty Council supports the Faculty Management in all efforts to save buildings 59, 60 and 61 on the Borongaj Campus from destruction. In the forefront, the Faculty Council with one accord requests that the buildings, that were taken away from the Faculty, be returned and put into function for educational purposes.

During the on-site inspection conducted by the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets of the Republic of Croatia on 24 November 2021, representatives of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service admitted that they did not have secure funds for the construction of a new building. According to the Building Permit, the precondition to start building is the tearing down of buildings 59, 60 and 61. Therefore, it is likely that:

  • in the southeastern part of the Borongaj Campus there could be unjustified destruction of usable buildings,
  • the Republic of Croatia will suffer exactly determined damage and
  • this demolition will cause the inestimable damage to the functioning of university institutions.

The levelling of Building 59 would cost the Republic of Croatia 3.73 million kunas (497 thousand euros). It would also leave more than 4,000 students on the Borongaj Student Campus without a gym.

Demolition of Building 60 would cause costs and direct material damage of 5.2 million kunas (693 thousand euros) to the Republic of Croatia. If that happens, the State Attorney's Office of the Republic of Croatia will have to determine the responsibility of those who made the decision to spend more than 6.5 million kunas of public money on the renovation of the building, which is scheduled for razing. As the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service intends to demolish the edifice, in which more than 6 million kunas (867 thousand euros) of public money was invested only two years ago, the Faculty of Croatian Studies calls on the responsible actors to refrain from harmful actions to state assets. Accordingly, the Faculty of Croatian Studies demands that Building 60 be given for use to the Faculty of Croatian Studies. Twenty-four teaching and office spaces are urgently needed by the Faculty of Croatian Studies to carry out basic academic and research activities.

The razing of Building 61 would cause costs of 3.8 million kunas (507 thousand euros) to the Republic of Croatia and would cause incalculable reputational damage to the Government of the Republic of Croatia as the owner due to the levelling of faculty lecture halls, cabinets and the library.

The Faculty Council obliged the Dean to take all the legal and all other steps provided by the law to save buildings 59, 60 and 61 from destruction and to stop them being taken away from the Faculty of Croatian Studies.

In this regard, the Faculty of Croatian Studies asks for the support of other constituents of the University of Zagreb, the Senate of the University of Zagreb, public authorities and the public. It also calls for solidarity, commitment to the common good and the principles of responsibility, publicity, economy and predictability in the management of state assets.

Explanation

The Croatian Institutions Act (Official Gazette, no. 76/93, 29/97, 47/99, 35/08 and 127/19) states that the assets of the institution consists, among other things, of the funds received from the founders for the work. By the Decision on the Establishment of the Faculty of Croatian Studies, the Founder (through the Senate and Rector of the University of Zagreb) stipulated that the real estate on the Borongaj Campus (including buildings 59, 60 and 61) be given to the Faculty of Croatian Studies for its use.

The Croatian Act on State Assets Management (Official Gazette, no. 52/18) stipulates that state assets shall be managed efficiently and reasonably with the diligence of a good manager – according to the principles of responsibility, publicity, economic efficiency and predictability. The principle of responsibility is ensured by specifying the powers and duties of individual incumbents in the management of state assets, monitoring the management of state assets, reporting on the objectives achieved and the effects of the management and disposal of state assets, and taking measures against incumbents who fail to act in accordance with regulations. The principle of publicity in the management of state assets is ensured by regularly informing the public about the activities of the management of state assets and by making public the decisions on the assets. State assets are managed in accordance with the principle of economy in order to achieve economic, infrastructural, social and other public objectives of the Republic of Croatia. The management and disposal of state property shall be predictable for the holders of other real property rights. Predictability of management and disposal of state assets is achieved, in principle, through equal treatment in the same or similar cases.

On 18 August 2021, the University of Zagreb Coordination for Development Issues of the Borongaj Campus proposed that if it is determined that the planned construction of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service building will disrupt the activities of the University and its components, the University will take legal action to protect its rights and interests.

Should the project also include the demolition of Building 59 (sports hall and gym), the City of Zagreb, the Ministry of Physical Planning, Construction and State Assets of the Republic of Croatia and the investor should be consulted in order to protect the property from destruction by moving the planned construction project 100 metres east of Building 59, where the open meadow is located. This would save Building 59 from razing and would not jeopardise the University's teaching operations.

Support to the Faculty of Croatian Studies in the preservation of buildings 59, 60 and 61 was also provided at the sessions of the Senate of the University of Zagreb on the 19th and 26th of October 2021.

In 2020, the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service commissioned a construction project to remove all existing elements of buildings 59, 60 and 61 on the Borongaj Campus in order to build a new Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service complex. The destruction of these buildings is also included on pages 27 and 66 of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service Architectural Project for the issuance of building permits.

According to Building Permit No. 349/2021 dated 18 October 2021, the City of Zagreb has allowed the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service to construct the building on the cadastral plot 1322/48, cadastral municipality Peščenica and stipulated under point V: "Before the start of construction, the buildings erected on the land in question must be removed".

On the case of Building 59

Building 59 is a sports hall at the address Borongajska cesta 83d/2. It has a length of 42.5 m, width of 21 m, height of 7.5 m, and a surface area of 839 net square meters on the Borongaj Campus. Part of the building, 134 square meters, was constructed on the land registry parcel 7347/19 of the land registry municipality City of Zagreb (land registry 25906) and the other part, 705 square meters, was constructed on the plot land registry parcel 7347/20 of Grad Zagreb land registry municipality (land registry 222103). It is located on the Borongaj Campus on a plot of land owned by the Republic of Croatia. The agreements between the Ministry of Science and Education, the University of Zagreb and the Student Centre of the University of Zagreb dated 16 April 2008, 19 January 2009 and 28 December 2012 stipulate that it shall to be in use for the needs of the Student Centre.

On 17 November 2014, the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences and Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb sent a letter to the Ministry of Science, Education and Sports requesting the transfer of Building 59 for the provision of physical health courses. In their letter to the University of Zagreb, they asked for support for the joint application and for the University of Zagreb to co-finance the necessary renovation work in the event of a positive decision by the Ministry. In a letter to the Minister dated 30 December 2014, the University of Zagreb supported the proposal that Building 59 and the neglected outdoor sports fields should be remodelled and adapted for teaching purposes, and asked the Ministry for a decision to transfer the building to the University of Zagreb. On 9 January 2015, the Minister of Science, Education and Sports, Vedran Mornar gave his approval for the transfer of Building 59 to the constituents of the University of Zagreb: Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences and Croatian Studies for the purpose of teaching physical education and health. By the decision of the Rector of the University of Zagreb on 28 April 2015, permission to use Building 59 and the existing outdoor sports fields was granted to the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, the Faculty of Transport Sciences and Croatian Studies. The state authorities have not revoked this approval to the constituents of the University.

The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service entered into possession of Building 59 in March 2021. On 18 August 2021, they were found to have replaced the lock on Building 59. On 27 August 2021, the Faculty of Croatian Studies requested that the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service allow it to regain possession of the edifice in question. Within their letter dated 30 August 2021, the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service refused to cease the disturbance and to hand over the joint co-possession of the property to the Faculty. On 13 September 2021, the Faculty initiated litigation for trespass.

In his opinion, dated 13 September 2021, the permanent expert witness for construction and real estate appraisal points out that Building 59 on the Borongaj Campus is a sound, reliable and valid edifice, but it is unmaintained and unused. Time has taken its toll on the edifice, but the existing damage does not threaten the stability of the structure. Even the recent earthquakes have not caused any damage to the construction. Statics, mechanical strength and stability of the structure have not been affected. It is a solid structure and the building can be used without any restrictions. A newly constructed edifice of this type would be worth 639 thousand euros (4,795,200 kunas). The current market value of the building is 262 thousand euros (1,966,032 kunas) and the cost of the project for removal, demolition of the building, removal and disposal of the construction waste would amount to 230 thousand euros (1,726,272 kunas).

On the case of Building 60

Building 60 consists of 24 offices at the address Borongajska cesta 83d/1. It has a length of 56.5 m, width of 16.5 m, and height of 7.5 m, with an area of 884 net square meters. It was built on the land registry parcel 7347/20 of Grad Zagreb land registry municipality (land registry 222103). It is located on the Borongaj Campus on land owned by the Republic of Croatia. The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia transferred the land to the University of Zagreb by an agreement dated 29 May 2007. On 28 July 2011, the University of Zagreb handed over two-thirds of its premises to Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb. Croatian Studies were in peaceful co-possession of the building from 2011 to 2016.

Without terminating the Agreement by the state authorities and without overturning the University's decision, the Ministry of State Property of the Republic of Croatia, by the contract of 27 April 2017, gave the land registry parcel 7357/20 of Grad Zagreb land registry municipality for use to the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service. This contract stipulates that the new building of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service would not affect the existence of Building 60.

The Meteorological and Hydrological Service took possession of Building 60 at the end of 2018. They legalised it and remodelled it. As stated by the Director-General of the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service, Mrs. Branka Ivančan-Picek, PhD, on 19 October 2021 in the Great Hall of the Faculty of Croatian Studies, the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service has invested more than 6.5 million kunas (867 thousand euros) in the renovation of this building in 2019.

The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service does not have the consent of the Republic of Croatia to demolish Building 60.

On 13 September 2021, the permanent expert witness for construction and real estate appraisal points out that Building 60 has been adapted, maintained and preserved as a solid, reliable and valid building. According to his finding, the recent earthquakes have not damaged the building – it has no disturbed statics, the mechanical strength and stability of the structure are preserved. In his expert opinion, in the constructive sense, it is a durable building. Therefore, it can be used without restrictions. The expertise shows the newly construction value of that building would be 727 thousand euros (5,452,920 kunas); that the current market value of the building is 458 thousand euros (3,435,339.60 kunas); and that the cost of the project for removal, levelling of the building, removal and disposal of construction debris would amount to 233 thousand euros (1,745,655 kunas).

On the case of Building 61

Building 61, called "Otoci", at the address Borongajska cesta 83d/3, has a length of 56.5 m, width of 16.5 m, height of 7.5 m, and an area of 882 net square meters. Part of the building, 663 square meters, was constructed on the land registry parcel 7347/19 of Grad Zagreb land registry municipality (land registry 25906) and the other part,219 square meters, was constructed on the land registry parcel 7347/20 of Grad Zagreb land registry municipality (land registry 222103). It is located on the Borongaj Campus on land owned by the Republic of Croatia. The Ministry of Science, Education and Sports of the Republic of Croatia transferred the property to the University of Zagreb by an agreement dated 29 May 2007. The University of Zagreb transferred it for use to Croatian Studies of the University of Zagreb by a decision of the Senate on 14 November 2006.

Later, the University transferred part of the building to the Faculty of Law. By the resolution of the Senate of the University of Zagreb on the establishment of the Faculty of Croatian Studies on 10 December 2019, the northern part of Building 61 with land was given to the Faculty for use. In the part of the building used by the Faculty of Croatian Studies there are four lecture halls, cabinets for four teachers and five cleaners, toilets, two storage rooms, a corridor and a boiler room.

The Ministry of State Assets, without terminating the agreement by the state authorities and without revoking the decision of the University, by the Agreement on 27 April 2017, ceded to the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service the land building 7357/20 of the cadastral municipality of Zagreb for use. The Ministry of State Assets stated that Building 61 will remain on the land plot after the construction of a new building by the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service. The contracting parties have agreed that Building 61 was not free from people and things, as it is used by the Faculty of Croatian Studies and the School of Law of the University of Zagreb, with which the Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service is familiar and to which it has no objection.

The Croatian Meteorological and Hydrological Service does not have the consent of the Republic of Croatia to tear down Building 61.

In his opinion on 13 September 2021, the permanent expert witness for construction and real estate appraisal points out that Building 61 is used, adapted, maintained and preserved. According his finding, it has an average level of equipment and cleanliness; the construction is solid and reliable, the recent earthquakes have not been damaged it; the statics, mechanical strength and stability of the structure have not been affected; so, structurally it is a durable structure, and that the building can be used without restrictions. The expertise shows that a new edifice of that kind on the current market would be valued at 607 thousand euros (4,552,200 kunas). The current market value of the building is 291 thousand euros (2,185,056 kunas) and the cost of the project for removal, demolition of the building, removal and disposal of construction debris would amount to 210 thousand euros (1,573,239 kunas).

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