ARC’s fancy, not faultless

The much-anticipated Queen’s Centre opened on Tuesday morning, providing equipped workout spaces, common areas for study and a new and improved food court.

The pristine facilities are an exciting addition to Queen’s campus. The Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) improves upon the PEC’s fitness environment by leaps and bounds, offering state-of-the-art equipment with features like individual television screens installed on cardio machines.

Queen’s vastly improved physical recreation space is likely to be an enticing factor for prospective students. The ARC’s opening will also benefit varsity teams by providing expanded practice space and attracting new recruits.

But the Queen’s Centre’s glitzy charm puts into question if the new facilities are worth their hundred-million dollar price tag.

It’s doubtful the facilities will recoup their exorbitant construction costs anytime soon.

The ARC anticipates significant community membership, but the insular feel of Queen’s campus—separated from areas where many Kingstonians live and work—makes this unlikely.

The Queen’s Centre’s spectacular new features shouldn’t overshadow the fact the administration left a trail of broken promises, like LEED certification and a main-campus arena, along the path to Phase One’s construction.

Enthusiasm for the Centre’s benefits also shouldn’t turn into a blind positivity that neglects to consider the centre’s financial mismanagement.

As a building designed to serve various aspects of the student experience, it’s disappointing the Queen’s Centre has a relatively small amount of club space compared to the significantly larger area reserved for athletics.

With $71 coming out of each student’s fees this year to finance construction, and that amount doubling next year, it’s rewarding to see the hard work that went into getting the facilities ready in time for the projected opening day. But in the blitz for Booster Juice, we should maintain a guarded optimism about the Queen’s Centre project and not forget to consider the management plans for Phases II and III.

The buzz in the Queen’s Centre on opening day is evidence of the high demand for this space. Although the building initially presents a vibe more similar to a mall or an airport than the charm of limestone buildings, the Queen’s Centre has much to offer students once they take time to adjust to the new facilities.

Like anything else, the Queen’s Centre will only deteriorate with time. Without remaining blind to the realities of its construction, we should appreciate its contribution to our student experience while it’s in its prime.

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