Mac Hall student services sing, dance, swap spaces

By Nicole McPhee

Nicole McPhee

As MacEwan Hall expansion gathers steam, resulting disruptions resemble a game of snakes and ladders more than a construction project.

To make way for the new ballroom, many of the student services in MacEwan Student Centre have been forced to relocate within the building. Campus Security, the International Students’ Centre, the Disability Resource Centre and Nat Christie Adaptive Technology Centre, Career Services and the Used Bookstore have all found new homes in the last month, some more permanent than others.

Career Services will move from their current location in the Kinesiology Complex to the old Max Café and Bar location, diagonally facing the campus bookstore.

"We proposed moving into MacEwan Student Centre to be more visible for students and companies," said Director of Career Services Craig Fortner.

Fortner explained that the new location will include interviewing and meeting facilities currently located in Science A. These include a resource centre, a front counter drop-off area for co-op internship applications and an area dedicated to job postings. Most of the Career Services administrative staff will remain at the current location due to space constraints in the new.

Fortner was satisfied with the change of scenery.

"The new location is more convenient for students as they go through MacEwan Hall," he said.

Career Services expect to move during the first week of September without any major impairment of services during the move.

Campus Security eagerly anticipates their move to the International Student Centre on the main floor of MacEwan Student Centre.

"We are very pleased with the new location," said Campus Security Manager Lanny Fritz. "It’s a more visible location, you see it when you first walk though the doors [of MacEwan Student Centre]."

Fritz explained that their current location allows rapid responses to potential trouble areas such as the ballroom and the Den, but Campus Security operations will not be adversely affected by the move.

"The current location makes for a quick response time of five seconds," he said. "With the new location it will be no more than 15 seconds, which is still good." 

The move is scheduled to take place during the first weekend of September. According to Fritz, Campus Security has been working closely with the phone company and will not experience any disruption to phone services during the move. There may be some disruption to the operation of the campus security cameras, however, Fritz explained that this concern had been addressed.

"For years we got by without the cameras," he said. "They’re really just an extra set of eyes, and we’re bringing in extra security, so that’s not too much of a concern."

The Disability Resource Centre has occupied its new location in the former airport lounge and the former location of Varsity Drugs. The Nat Christie Centre has also moved to a location behind the DRC.

"Being able to take part in the planning process really helped," said Adaptive Technology Specialist Merlin Keillor. "The space isn’t much larger, but it’s more conducive to what we’re doing. It’s better designed, with wider doorways  for students with wheelchairs. Being right by the front door helps too because a lot of students with mobility problems come on the Handi-Bus."

The Used Bookstore is less pleased with their situation. It has moved twice in the last three months and may move again before September.

"Moving is a nuisance," said Tatjana Ilic, an employee at the bookstore for the last two years. "There’s an awful lot of books to move, and our space has shrunk from where we moved last time."

After moving the entire operation singlehandedly from their original space in the basement of MacEwan Hall to the Green Room in Max Café and Bar, the bookstore staff discovered that somebody still had keys to Max’s kitchen.

"We would leave everything all neat and tidy at night," recounted Ilic. "Then we would come in the morning to find books all over the place, some tables had burn marks. We don’t even know if any books were stolen." 

The bookstore has continued to suffer as a result of the ongoing shuffles. Financially, the most recent move to the second floor of MacEwan Hall has been less than ideal. The bookstore lost two days of business for the move and suffered damage to several books as a result of a burst water pipe shortly after.

The final move is anticipated for mid-August, when they expect to move into the former Max’s location across from the campus bookstore. 

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