If I had a million dollars…

By Mary Chan

The University of Calgary Students’ Union approved over $1 million in redevelopment funding Tuesday night; over $200,000 is allotted to SU office renovations. The motion passed unanimously in its second reading at the Students’ Legislative Council meeting.

The money pays for a number of projects related to MacEwan Hall redevelopment, including the salary of a construction manager, who oversees both redevelopment and expansion. Costs also include design and construction fees for club space interiors, the SU convenience store, the Information Centre, and new retail and meeting space in the "Airport Lounge." Of the total $1,007,350, $239,810 was allotted for designing and renovating the SU offices in MacEwan Student Centre 251.

"We hear a lot of complaints from students that our offices aren’t necessarily student friendly," said SU President Toby White. "When you walk in, you don’t feel you have access to the whole office."

White added that another reason for the renovation was to integrate the business side of the SU, such as conference services, with the student services.

SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon believes renovating the SU offices will increase the efficiency of the organization, and accommodate the university’s increased enrolment since the offices were built in 1988.

"The student population has grown by 10,000, I think," he said. "There’s more people on campus, and there’s an awful lot more stuff that the SU is doing. If we become totally inefficient and we can’t do our jobs, then the SU would be a big waste."

The money will also be used to temporarily move the Copy Centre to the old Primo Bistro location, Words and Pictures to where Favours used to be, and to move the Campus Cove.

"I believe we’re just moving [the arcade] within their own centre," said Lauzon, who expects the majority of these projects to finish within a few months. "It’s so that they can do demolition of the Den and the Black Lounge and the Copy Centre."

The SU also plans to move the undergraduate Health and Dental office upstairs to the current site of the Shirley Anastasia Lounge and move the Gauntlet to the Ray Alward Lounge. Lauzon stressed that new meeting spaces will be built in the "Airport Lounge" area to compensate for the loss of the two study lounges.

According to White, the SU will try to keep students informed of the project as it progresses and the inconvenience to a minimum. Despite possible disruptions, however, White believes students are anxious to see the project begin.

"Students have been putting money into the expansion and redevelopment fund, and we want to make sure students can see the benefits of that as soon as possible," he said.

Lauzon invites any students who have concerns to contact him at 220-6551, or suvpfin@ucalgary.ca.

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