After two years of planning and construction, the Arts Lounge, which was set to open on October 26, will be postponed.
The Arts Lounge will offer students in the faculty of arts — the largest faculty at the University of Calgary — a space to meet and study.
In 2010, when the newly amalgamated faculty of arts was created, there became a need for a student lounge. Current Board of Governors student-at-large and fourth-year history student Vincent St. Pierre, who was a Students’ Union arts representative at the time, set out to create the lounge. It initially had an estimated cost of $60,000.
The initial funding to begin the Arts Lounge was provided by Quality Money, a U of C committee that allocates $1.6 million per year for programs and initiatives on campus.
“When the [new] faculty of arts was created, there was an opportunity there to create a meeting space for arts students and we jumped at it,” said St. Pierre. “One of the major issues with the arts faculty when it was created was that a lot of students didn’t feel like they were part of a faculty. The goal of the Arts Lounge was to create a space, an avenue, for arts students to get a greater feel for the great multidisciplinary aspect of the faculty of arts.”
St. Pierre said the Arts Lounge is 2.5 times larger than initially planned. The cost is currently estimated at $100,000.
According to SU vice-president operations and finance Scott Weir, the opening will be postponed due to incomplete construction. He hopes the lounge will be ready before the holiday season.
“Unfortunately, the Arts Lounge will not be open this Friday. We were pretty disappointed about that,” said Weir. “The construction is not complete at this time. We have been pushing the university like crazy but, as is sometimes the case on campus, other priorities can get in the way.”
Students can begin using the space as soon as construction is complete. Weir said in terms of amenities, the lounge will be fairly minimal at first.
“It will be bare bones when it opens, but we can take care of that,” said Weir. “We need the university to finish it off, with the electricity and other things like that, so that we can start using it.”
Current SU arts representatives Sarah Damberger and Kelsy Norman are heading the project this year. According to Norman, who is a third-year English student, the lounge will be a beneficial space for students.
“To have a main area that students can congregate in, can hang out in between or after classes, where they can do their school work and interact with other students, has a lot of value,” said Norman. “I think the really important life lessons that stick with you are going to happen in social settings, and the Arts Lounge will be a place where that can happen.”
Norman hopes the lounge will be opened before fall final exams. The Arts Lounge will be located on the first floor of the Social Sciences building.