By Вen Li
Some student services want a little more input before they’re told they have to move.
The Disabled Students’ Centre and International Students Centre relocation is necessary since Campus Security is scheduled to move to the southwest corner of MacEwan Students Centre. The DRC will most likely end up in the area facing the Renert Centre.
"We aren’t as involved in the process as we would have liked," said DRC Director Patricia Pardo. "It was apparent that much conversation had already happened without either ISC or DRC being involved. We were taken aback at the lack of consultation, given that things appeared to have moved so quickly. It appeared as though our leaving this space was a given from the campus planning perspective."
U of C Assistant VP Student Affairs Peggy Patterson felt left out of the process.
"Essentially, I hadn’t been brought into the planning until the decision had been made on the plan," said Patterson. "I have no problems with the appropriation of space if it’s necessary, it’s the process that’s [the issue]."
According to President of the Association for Accessibility and Awareness Zubehr Hagid, whose organization represents the interests of disabled students on campus, students were left out.
"Our association has not been contacted very much," said Hagid. "The only reason I know about it is because I sit on committees like the Committee on Issues of Students with Disabilities."
But Hagid said students will be involved in the planning and design of the relocated centre, and both Hagid and Pardo are concerned about the needs of users. Pardo is receptive to the move, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the winter session for students.
"One of our caveats is nothing [is done] until April 30," said Pardo. "The Nat Christie centre needs to continue to be operational and accessible to students with disabilities until final exams are over."
According to Campus Planning, the April 1 deadline for ISC and DRC to vacate is being adhered to.
The Nat Christie Adaptive Technology Centre, which is currently secluded enough to be quiet, will also need to be relocated along with the move.
"I think [the space the centre is being relocated to] is an OK space," said Hagid. "The only problem I perceive with it is that it’s a very noisy area, and there’s a high level of traffic. A lot of students need a distraction-free environment so sound-proofing would be necessary if we were to move into that environment."
Moving the Centre may require efforts on the diplomatic front as well.
"The Nat Christie Centre was dedicated space donated by the Nat Christie Foundation, so I had to check whether or not we needed to consult them if we relocated this space," said Patterson.
"It’s unlikely we need to get their approval, but out of courtesy we should inform them and make sure that the quality of space that is given to the Nat Christie Centre is in keeping with the significance and the value we placed on getting that gift."
Despite the lack of early involvement in relocating their resources, all parties involved are willing to work with Campus Planning to ease the situation.
"We are very open to continuing the conversation and seeing where that takes us," said Pardo. "This is an opportunity to enhance our space from a design perspective. The potential for everyone doing well in this is there."