By Adam Berti
With a new residence building set to begin construction in the spring, students will have yet another place to cook grilled-cheese on a hot-plate.
According to Residence Services Director Joel Lynn, the University of Calgary is in talks with an anonymous donor to receive $2 million towards the project.
“We’re pretty confident there will be a new building within the next two years,” said Lynn.
Lynn is part of a small group discussing a range of possibilities for the new space. The donor wants to see the current residence expanded, but with an international focus.
While the building’s plans are not yet approved by the U of C Board of Governors, some criteria are already firm. It will contain both Canadian and international students, and provide space for between 140 and 170 beds. By comparision, the recently built Cascade Hall contains 400 beds.
Lynn stress- ed the importance of careful planning for this project.
“We do not want to build something we can’t afford,” said Lynn. “It has to be flexible enough, and improve on our current facilities.”
Although the donation does not cover the entire cost of the project, U of C Chief Development Officer Gary Durbeniuk was careful to point out its importance.
“It allows the opportunity to do something you probably wouldn’t do,” he said. “[The donor] has provided seed capital to move forward with the project.”
The university will look to the community and government for additional funds. Durbeniuk hopes the donation will be matched through the provincial government’s Access to the Future endowment.
Although the donor wishes to remain anonymous now, Durbeniuk expects to name him once the ground breaking begins.
“Some donors wish to remain anonymous forever,” he said. “If they don’t want recognition, it’s not unusual.”
The population mix of the new building will need to reflect the goals of the U of C’s Academic Plan and Residence Life program. Durbeniuk said the principal residents would be graduate students, but there would be a mix of both graduate and undergraduate students.
International Students Centre Director Glynn Hunter explained the reason behind this.
“You want to combine [international and local students] at senior levels,” he said. “You want them past the party stage and settled into their program.”
Hunter noted that up to 30 per cent of the 1,600 students currently living in residence are international students, with the majority from Asia.