By Jan Creaser
In the words of the Faculty of Kinesiology’s Dean Ron Zernicke, a "starting pistol" was fired when the University of Calgary Board of Governors approved a proposal for development and expansion of the faculty.
"The U of C is known for its excellent facilities and this will make us absolutely number one in Canada and hopefully North America," said Zernicke.
The five part plan includes expansion of the Campus Recreation facilities, enhancement of classrooms and laboratories, and a new varsity sports building and fields to replace those lost when Cascade Hall was built. As well, the expansion will allow for increased support for the National Sport Centre and for Olympic and national athletes who train in Calgary.
"Each of the five parts will have potential for separate funding sources and each of them can be built basically independently," said Zernicke.
This means each module of the development plan will only go forward if funding goals are achieved. Funding will come mostly from outside sources, such as government and sports agency grants, private and corporate sector funding, and possibly from the 1988 Olympic endowment funds. As well, development of Campus Recreation will probably involve building fees for faculty, staff and community users and a student fee was proposed.
"We’ve talked to the Students’ Union and the Graduate Students’ Association because we plan to work closely with them in the fall to outline a plan to move forward," said Zernicke.
The total proposed budget for Campus Recreation expansion is $53.5 million, with about $19 million recommended to come from students. To date, no guidelines or timeline for the use of a student fee for this project have been discussed.
"I felt that was too much," said SU President Toby White. "However, [Dean Zernicke] wants to consult students on it and see what they feel is fair. We’re glad he wants to consult students."
Any student fee increases will go to a referendum for both undergraduate and graduate students.
In terms of university involvement, no extra money will be allotted from the university’s operating budget. However, the university could possibly receive an access grant specifically designated for the kinesiology program.
"If the government gives money for the kinesiology undergrad program, that would technically be considered university funding," explained Associate Vice-president Finance Richard Roberts. "However, our financial situation is such that [the university] cannot give money out for this type of project."
The expansion of the faculty will also include joint projects between the faculties of Medicine and Engineering, and is desired because of increased demand on the facilities and the kinesiology program.
"Essentially, what we’re looking at and what the university is telling us is that there are going to be at least another 10,000 students here," said Zernicke. "We’re basically overloaded currently and there’s no way in the next 15 years that we’re going to be able to use the same facilities that we have now."
White agreed that demand on the faculty is high, but expressed disappointment that other faculties in greater need of improvement are not able to proceed in the same way the faculty of kinesiology can.
"It looks like a positive project, and won’t take away from the university’s operating budget," said White. "But it’s too bad other faculties can’t get this outside funding because the kinesiology buildings are the least in need of renovation."