Negotiations surrounding University Centre renovations prompt discussions for new student union building

Plans for a renovated University Centre sparked a lively debate at the most recent Board of Governors meeting. Approximately 50 students were in attendance the meeting, where students presented their concerns about how current designs result in a reduced amount of student space, including that currently occupied by Oliver’s Pub and Patio.

Board Members were informed that negotiations between University administrators and CUSA had prompted University President, Richard Van Loon to present CUSA with a letter, which commits the University:

– to provide planning assistance to CUSA in defining the uses and parameters of a new student union building;

– provided that the planning is completed and CUSA is able to demonstrate financing for the building, the administration will recommend to the Board of Governors that the construction project be approved and that land in an appropriate location be provided to CUSA on the basis of a long-term lease at a cost of $1.00;

– to continue to make Porter Hall available to CUSA for special events;

– to cover all the costs of the external construction of the new Oliver’s space;

– to split the costs of internal renovations of the new Oliver’s between CUSA and the University.

Further debate at the meeting noted that the current design schematics, revised as recently as the night before, included a newly renovated 5,200 square foot Oliver’s Pub and Patio. This proposed space allocation represents a 28 percent reduction from its current size.

While supportive of the Executive’s new commitments, student leaders pressed for signed guarantees and asked the Board of Governors to consider either deferring approval of the plans until the December Board meeting, or making approval of the plans contingent on future negotiations of a binding agreement on the construction of a new student union building. The Board raised concerns, however, that delaying approval of the plans would mean construction scheduled to begin this summer would be delayed. As a result, the plans for the external construction of the University Centre were approved, with verbal commitments for ongoing negotiations with respect to the President’s letter.

The physical appearance of the Carleton campus will continue to undergo a great deal of change as the Campus Master Plan continues to unfold.

Updated schematic drawings of the proposed University Centre renovations will be added to the Physical Plant Web site shortly.

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