By Karla Holt
After nearly nine months of living out of their backpacks, University of Calgary clubs finally have a home in MacEwan Hall.
"The clubs [were] made into refugees at the end of last year… to make way for the SU offices," said Club Committee Chair Jordan Bonner. "We were told the club space would be finished in September. Then it was October, then November, then maybe before Christmas."
Across the hall from Varsity Drugs, the newly-opened space boasts offices, a business centre and lots of storage space. However, it also currently houses something not planned for–bitterness and animosity directed towards the Students’ Union.
The clubs were "homeless" for multiple reasons, said SU Vice president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon.
"There were a lot of difficulties with the company that did the work," he said. "The architects took much longer with the working drawings than anticipated. Then, the project had to go to tender for a month. This delayed construction."
Lauzon also said that the SU couldn’t wait for club space to be completed because it was cheaper to do all the construction at once and because of time restrictions surrounding renovation of Mac Hall.
The SU’s original plan was to finish the new club space by September. Once clubs moved into the new spaces, the SU was to occupy their old space while the SU offices were renovated. Once renovations were complete, the SU was going to move to their new offices, and the old club offices in MacEwan Hall were going to be demolished.
However, the new club space wasn’t completed by September. The SU moved into the old club space, leaving the clubs without meeting or storage space until this Monday.
With limited methods of communication outside e-mail, many clubs had trouble operating during the fall semester. According to Bonner, the lack of club accommodation also had a negative effect on campus life.
"Lots of clubs didn’t do the holiday food drive because they were pissed off, and finding volunteers for December 6 [memorial for Montréal massacre victims] was impossible," he said.
Bryndis Whitson, president of the U of C Liberals Association, doesn’t know why things were as difficult as they were.
"There should have been provisions made–to an extent, the SU must have known," she said.
"We weren’t promising anything from the start, but we were always hoping we’d have it done," said Lauzon. "If we had known it would be January, clubs would have been given more access to this space in fall semester. But we didn’t know."
Despite the fact that there are four clubs sharing Whitson’s small oFFIce, she says she is "glad to finally have club space." Both the SU and the clubs agree that more communication is the key to improving SU/club relations, but Lauzon feels that it’s all in the past.
"If some clubs are jaded and bitter about what happened, it’s unfortunate," he said. "But there’s not a lot we can do now to change that."