Expansion agreements signed

By Bonnie Leung

The MacEwan Hall expansion project took a few more leaps forward in December–the Students’ Union signed an operating agreement with the university and a term sheet with the Royal Bank. This is the farthest expansion has progressed in four years.

"The only thing that awaits is the tendering process," said SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso. "So if there’s any delays or if there’s anything that may come up, it might be in regards to construction."
The term sheet (a document that signifies an intent to finalize the terms of the loan), for a $10 million loan at prime plus a quarter per cent, was signed Dec. 20. Affonso expects the official loan agreement to be signed "soon," now that the holidays are over.

The SU signed the operating agreement with the University of Calgary at the Dec. 10 Board of Governors meeting.

"The operating agreement is an agreement between the university and the SU, which outlines the responsibilities of both groups," said Affonso. "It states that the university owns and controls the building; however, the SU is given the opportunity to manage and to carry out the day to day operations of the building."

According to Affonso, the SU has taken care of all the requirements on their side. The university is responsible for the next step, tendering.

Tender is a two to six week process where the U of C solicits bids from different construction companies and management companies for the best deal. It also involves specific financial details of construction and the architectural plans.

Expansion is set to begin, although there are still a few organization details before students see construction, says the SU.

"We’re looking at putting on a construction manager to organize the project, to do the tendering for the construction companies for the expansion and redevelopment projects," said Affonso. "We also have to make sure that the specifics are done within the construction times."

Affonso declined to give an exact completion date for the project.

Some students are skeptical about expansion.

"I don’t believe they’ll make it by this year, but maybe by next year," said first-year General Studies student Eric Jorgensen.

Others are more positive.

"I think [expansion will happen] because it’s been long enough and enough threats have been made and I think they’ll be moving on it soon," said second-year Humanities student James Chimirri-Russell.

First-year General Studies student Byron Wickerson hopes to see expansion soon.

"It’s too busy as it is right now," he said. "We can expand it–more tables, less crowding."

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