Expansion delayed…again

MacEwan Hall expansion has been delayed; again.

Construction of the long-awaited expansion building is slated to begin next month. Another setback pushed back the date of the ground breaking from September to October.

Students’ Union plans for expansion have been ongoing since 1996 and have suffered numerous delays in that time.

“We can only make a rough estimate, that’s all we can base any prediction,” said Vice-president Operations and Finance Amanda Affonso.

SU President Paul Galbraith also cited improper timing in Calgary’s construction market as a reason for the postponement. “By waiting until October we’re able to get a much better number for the project,” he said. “In the end it shaves off about $3,000-$4,000.”

At this point in development, Mac Hall expansion has gone to tender, meaning the SU is seeking bids from construction companies.

“We’ve heard back from 12 companies that have expressed interest,” said Affonso. “From there we’ll narrow it down to five, and then we’ll select the best company that meets the criteria.”

The SU expects construction to begin shortly after the selected company has seen the plans and has become aware of what is happening.

“There will be no turning back,” said Affonso. “If things go smoothly the we might get started before September ends.”

Galbraith echoed her confidence. “We’re working diligently to ensure that Mac Hall expansion goes ahead on time and on budget,” he said. “Hopefully it will be completed by the beginning of September of next year, which was our goal.”

Plans to redevelop existing Mac Hall space have made some progress since the last update. Several confirmed projects include the renovation of the SU offices and the infills above the bar space at Max Cafe. Construction is scheduled to occur during the winter vacation when there will be fewer students at the University.

Galbraith cautions against any expectations of sudden and drastic changes though.

“Redevelopment takes a long time to plan,” he said. “We have so many resources committed to expansion that we probably won’t see anything until next summer.”

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