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That Empty Space could be getting a $1.1 million makeover by this spring.
Paul Baker/the Gauntlet

That Empty Space gets bigger, less empty

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With an ever growing student population at University of Calgary, the Students' Union plans to transform MacEwan Student Centre's food court into a more spacious and modern-looking area by early September.

According to SU operations and finance vice-president Alex Judd, the space, which is now next to That Empty Space, will include 200 seats, two food vendors and the option of studying during the day. The SU also plans to expand That Empty Space further down MSC into the What's Up Space.

"Basically, we're just trying to fulfill what [students] communicated to us, which was a concern for more space to study and to socialize as well as more food court options, ideally healthy ones," said Judd. "We think that opening up the space is just going to make Mac Hall more inviting and continue to be a good space for students to come."

Fourth-year psychology student Lesley Santos is excited about the changes. She believes that creating more space in MSC will allow the U of C to keep up with a growing student population.

"Often times you're trying to walk through when there's so much traffic," said Santos. "It would just be nice to have a quieter area."

Third-year engineering student Kris Rupert said healthy food vendors will give students better options.

"I'm kind of excited to see a couple more food vendors to go in, to be honest," said Rupert. "I have some friends I talk to. We're all in third year so we're kind of tired of Mac Hall on occasion."

Currently, the SU is seeking approval of the plans to renovate the 7,400 square foot space through the Student Legal Assistance levy. If all goes well, the SU will determine how to pay an estimated $1.1 million for the renovations. Judd said this will be achieved by using a combination of a quality money grant, a loan and the SU's capital development fund. Construction would start as soon as the spring term begins.

"We really don't want the construction taking place during the school year because it would disrupt too much of what already takes place, especially in That Empty Space," said Judd. "We can't afford to lose that since it's such a popular place for students."

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