Mac Hall reno plans complete

By Naomi Sturtridge

After almost ten years of confusion and ambiguity, the third floor of MacEwan Student Centre may finally be seeing some renovations in its future. Pending on funding, the three proposed new spaces for the Multi-Faith Centre, NUTV and CJSW will hopefully begin construction by the fall 2005 semester.

Following the 1995 Students’ Union referendum decision to expand MSC, there has been controversy as to when the renovations would actually start and why it has taken so long for any action to occur.

One of the major delaying factors for campus radio station, CJSW, was the lack of an operations agreement between CJSW and the SU. A revised agreement has finally been drafted and is awaiting approval by the SLC and the CJSW board of directors.

“You can’t pick out the car you want to buy without a driver’s license,” illustrated CJSW Station Manager Chad Saunders of the importance of the operations agreement on beginning construction of the new CJSW space. “We have been in this same space since the 1970S, and with the operation agreement in place we can finally get started [on construction].”

Although most of the funding for the new 4,125 square foot CJSW space will come from fundraising efforts and government grants, Saunders hopes the university will contribute to the almost $500,000 renovation cost as well.

“[CJSW is] a non-profit student organization, the university should supply the capital infrastructure costs needed for maintaining the building,” said Saunders, citing such expenses as electrical, heating and air conditioning, fire alarm, and computer networking installation costs.

For campus television station NUTV the lack of $250,000 in funding has been the major roadblock in their construction process.

“Currently at this point, [construction of the new 2,200 square foot space] is not in our financial scenario,” said Staff Executive Director Michelle Wong. “We are relying on our own fundraising along with applying for a grant from the provincial government, which we should know if we are approved for within the next 12 weeks.”

Despite the financial pressure, Wong remains optimistic about the project.

“It seems like there is a lot of support [for the construction] and that everyone is moving in the same direction.” she said.

The project showing the most progress is the new multi-faith center, with construction set to begin in the summer pending on approval from university administration.

“The university drags its feet at every opportunity,” bemoaned SU Vice-President Operations and Finance Greg Clayton. “The university controls all of the infrastructure, right now all they’ve said is that they are going to do it.”

“Hopefully construction on the new space can begin within the next month,” Clayton continued about the new 1400 square foot prayer space. “We are hoping to have the multi-faith center completed by the end of the summer.”

‘Clayton hopes construction on all three spaces can begin within the next two months with construction carrying on through the summer.

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