Expansion put on hold

By Dale Miller

MacEwan Student Centre is to remain incomplete for least another six months as the Students’ Union gives the redevelopment plan a major rethink. This is the latest chapter in the expansion and redevelopment project which has spanned two decades.

“We have stopped everything and now we’re hammering out a master plan and finding out what space we have and what is going in it,” said SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Greg Clayton. “In the past, each new executive has come in and started their own new construction projects–we have 16 or 17 of them going on.”

Among the projects affected is the relocation of NUTV, which has been in temporary offices for three years.

“We would be disappointed if the expansion were to come to a halt,” said Kevin Allen, Executive Director of NUTV. “We were supposed to be [in the current location] for four months–now we’re going on three years.

CJSW, also due to relocate with redevelopment, will not be affected since its operating agreement has yet to be received by the SU.

The multi-faith centre project will also be halted, but completing it in an orderly and effective fashion remains at the top of the SU’s priority list.

“It’s a misconception that the multi-faith center is a solution to our problems,” said Clayton. “The plan now has an occupancy of 60 people, but there are more Muslims than that on campus and there are no footbaths in the plans right now–we can’t have that.”

“It needs to be done well, we don’t want to throw hundreds of thousands of dollars into a facility that won’t fulfill the needs, and we also don’t want something to happen like the lawsuit with Subway,” Clayton added.

Clayton refers to when the owner of the Campus Cove and Subway sought reimbursement from the SU for income lost when a problem with the heating system caused abnormally high temperatures which decreased customers.

The SU has hired two consultants to help with the redevelopment, but funding and structural issues have hampered their progress.

“There is a certain sequence of events that should happen,” said Peter Jeffery, MSC Redevelopment and Expansion Project Management Consultant. “But everything is on hold until we get funding into place, then we can put the whole thing together.”

The next step in the MacEwan Incompletoplex’s redevelopment will be to evaluate all of the space available, and decide how they want to use it–according to Clayton this should take six months.


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