Changes coming in Mac Hall

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MacEwan Student Centre as we know it will be changing -- at least a little. Included in the plans are moving That Empty Space into the old Campus Cove, new areas for clubs in the soon-to-be-vacant CJSW labyrinth and a positive space for the gay and lesbian community.

There are also plans for a microwave bar, four new vendors, renovated offices, a unisex washroom and more tables and study spots

That Empty Space, the multipurpose venue beside the microwaves, is relocating to the much larger and currently unused Campus Cove area beside Subway. The current space will be rented out to new tenants in the cafeteria.

Students' Union vice-president events Kat Lord wants That Empty Space to be well used by clubs, the SU and community members.

"We are looking to make it as multifunctional as possible."

The space will have easy-to-use audio, video and lighting capabilities, a stage for performers and a bar for events that require it. The area has in the past been a bowling alley, a cafe, an arcade and even housed The Den in its formative years.

The space will be a funky location for alternative bookings, though priority will always go to U of C groups, said Lord.

With CJSW's move to the third floor of MSC, a large area has become available for student use on the first floor. SU VP operations and finance Joey Brocke said he's excited about the changes.

"The basement has the potential to become a revitalized space in an area that is kind of a dungeon," said Brocke, who chairs the redevelopment steering committee.

"It will be a large, open, multi-use space that will allow a larger number of clubs to use a smaller space more efficiently," said Brocke.

Upstairs, the new "positive space" represents a major victory for the gay and lesbian community, which has been lobbying for a dedicated area for over a decade. It will be located to the right of the MacEwan Conference rooms, beneath NUTV.

"It is our hope that such a space will provide resources to students and staff of all sexual and gender expressions and give a home for us and our allies," explained Queers on Campus co-chair Kris Schmidt.

The space, a lounge and meeting area, will be run by volunteers, said Brocke.

Originally the redevelopment plan included a space for students on the cafeteria patio. Gradually plans have become more ambitious and targeted wasted space.