"Construction could begin as early as Spring 1996, with a completion date of Fall 1996."
– Students’ Union President
Kate Kimberly, Oct. 12, 1995
"Ground will be broken in July. If everything goes well, completion will be August 1998."
– SU Vice-president Finance
Akin Jeje, Feb. 20, 1997
"We may be looking at a spring construction."
– SU President Rob South,
Nov. 29, 1999
Given that we’ve heard it all before, the latest development in the MacEwan Hall expansion saga leaves cause for hope. Only two major obstacles lie between the hard hats and the ground they eagerly seek to break: the operating agreement and the acquisition of a loan.
"Students deserve a new building, and we want to get it to them as soon as possible," said South.
"The operating agreement is the agreement between the SU and the university regarding matters such as the lease, utility costs, and usage," he added. "As for the loan offer, we’re looking into one with the Royal Bank with a floating interest rate of prime plus one-quarter per cent."
Another offer, made by the Alberta Treasury Branch, would be at a fixed rate of 8.375 per cent; the Hong Kong Savings Bank of Canada is also expected to put forth an offer in the near future.
"With Royal Bank’s plan, we stand to save over $130,000 per year [for the duration of the 25-year, $10 million loan]," said South.
At the Dec. 7 Students’ Legislative Council meeting, the operating agreement and loan offer will be presented to council for approval. Then, at the Dec. 10 Board of Governors meeting, the lease agreement will be submitted for signing by the SU and the BoG.
"We don’t anticipate any trouble getting the Board of Governors
to sign the operating agreement," said South. "They’re as enthused as we are that the project is going ahead."
Once loan details are finalized, possibly some time in mid-January, the building will be put to tender.
"The tendering process involves bidding by construction companies on the project," said su Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso. "We hope they’ll all come to the plate again this year."
When asked if CANA, the firm whose offer was nearly accepted last year, would return for tendering, Affonso replied: "We hope so, but it depends on their workload."
According to South, as soon as the contract is signed, construction will begin.
"When tender is signed, we’re legally obligated to pay, so we may as well order building as soon as we’ve signed the contract," he said. "Signing tender is the point of no return."
South added that no further delays will be tolerated.