Queen’s Centre budget increased again

Board of Trustees approves $7 million increase from capital fund to complete School of Kinesiology

Student Trustee Michael Ceci
Image by: Tyler Ball
Student Trustee Michael Ceci

Student trustee Michael Ceci said the Board of Trustees approved $7 million to be spent on the School of Kinesiology at the Board of Trustees meeting last Friday.

The finance committee requested $7.5 million to be added to the Phase 1 budget, but the board refused to grant the total amount, Ceci said, to send a message of disapproval for exceeding the budget by such a large margin.

The money will come through the capital fund, which borrows money for large-scale projects. A refusal of just under $500,000 will amount to huge savings in the long term, Ceci said.

The original cost of building the School of Kinesiology was set at $18 million but costs have risen, despite efforts to cut costs, to about $25 million.

Ceci said the denial of nearly half a million dollars will have a significant impact on the overall cost of the centre.

“Over the lifetime of the building, $500,000 would have become a huge amount,” he said.

The interest accumulated on any money the University borrows is paid for through the operating budget, the same place money to support classes comes from.

The board also decided not to follow through with the certification of the School of Kinesiology to LEED standards.

LEED certification encourages the construction of environmentally conscious buildings.

The School of Kinesiology will be built to LEED specifications, but Queen’s may not pay to have the building registered.

Not certifying the School of Kinesiology with LEED will save $426,358 during Phase 1 construction, Ceci said.

Ceci said the plans for the Queen’s Centre are at the silver level of LEED certification.

“There are cost savings by not recognizing it. The building plans are already to the LEED certification standard. The environmental conscious construction will be to LEED standards,” he said. “Whether or not to go through registration is to be decided. With the recognition there are annual dues which would waste additional money.”

Ceci said moving the Queen’s Centre arena to west campus is one option being discussed to cut costs in Phases 2 and 3 of Queen’s Centre construction.

“No decision has been made officially on that. We’ll be looking at costs,” he said. “I would be hesitant to say a rash decision will be made. All the stakeholders will be consulted.”

Ceci said the option was discussed during a presentation given at AMS Assembly last Thursday.

“There was a presentation given to the AMS Assembly by Andrew Simpson’s office,” he said. “The finance office would be doing consultations. I would assume they would be with the AMS, sports teams and students, all user groups of that facility.”

Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) Andrew Simpson was unavailable for comment.

Ceci said moving the arena to west campus wouldn’t necessarily change the functionality of Queen’s Centre.

“Having the arena moved to this site would move the field house to the lower level,” he said. “This would enable ease of use. More people could access the different sporting facilities.”

There are no concrete numbers as to how much would be saved, Ceci said.

“The numbers will be coming when a decision needs to be made,” he said.

“In a project of this size, every dollar that you spend, you will have to pay back over the life of the centre.”

The constantly-changing construction industry makes it difficult to give estimates, Ceci said.

“The construction industry in Canada is so busy and expensive. Every month will change approximations a significant amount,” he said.

Another option being discussed is using pre-engineered buildings in the construction of the arena and the field house, Ceci said.

“Pre-engineered buildings have come a long way in their usefulness,” he said. “They are high-quality structures.

“There would be a tremendous cost savings to that and it would be cheaper to maintain.

“This couldn’t be considered before because there is no pre-engineered building for a design that complex and unique.”

Principal Tom Williams said moving the arena would not compromise the vision of the Queen’s Centre.

“I think the vision of the Queen’s Centre had various components including an ice rink,” he said. “We would still have an ice rink, just in a different place.”

Pre-engineered buildings are a viable option to cut costs, he said.

“If you look around at most cities including Kingston, virtually all arenas are pre-engineered,” he said.

“Not only is it cheaper to build but it is also cheaper to maintain.”

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to journal_editors@ams.queensu.ca.

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