MCRC aims to spruce up common rooms

Brennan Mercer and Dave Wilson, both ArtSci ’09, sit in the lower Victoria Hall common room, which was recently redone.
Brennan Mercer and Dave Wilson, both ArtSci ’09, sit in the lower Victoria Hall common room, which was recently redone.

Students feeling overcrowded in residences can look forward this term to some relief or at least some entertainment.

MCRC was successful in its bid to obtain an estimated $55,000 to $60,000 in funding from residence administration for improvements to residence common rooms, including entertainment equipment and facilities.

Alexis Meyerman, MCRC president, said MCRC chose to try to improve common rooms based on the current level of residence overcrowding and the quality of the facilities already available.

“It depended on what we had for overcrowding, the number of common rooms that were no longer available,” she said, adding that the aim is to ensure there is an equal distribution of equipment in all buildings.

“Some houses have a lot more entertainment facilities [than others],” she said.

When choosing which common rooms to target, Meyerman said MCRC had to look at the situation in each building.

A survey done two years ago determined the five pieces of entertainment equipment most in demand by students in residence include large-screen televisions, pool tables, foosball tables, ping pong tables and pianos. Meyerman said she would like to see these things available for all students.

The pool table in the lower common room of Victoria Hall was paid for by the Victoria Hall House Council, not the MCRC, Meyerman said. She said that to provide students with these things, each individual house council, comprised of representatives from within each residence, had no choice but to use their own money in the past.

Meyerman said she hopes the money MCRC has been given to refurbish common rooms will now allow house councils to put their money towards the programs for which it was intended. She said the house council mandate states a responsibility for discipline and social events, not for equipment.

House council funds have paid for activities including the recent Vic Hall Dodge Ball and Leonard Bowl events, as well as upcoming trips to Montreal.

Meyerman said many of the improvements, however, are meant to be temporary.

“We had originally wanted to change Vic Hall basement a lot more,” she said.

She said several reasons contributed to the decision to opt for more flexible changes.

The biggest factor was the decision to invest approximately $51 million into residences over the next 20 years, beginning in 2007.

A major part of renovation plans is the construction of a new food facility in the basement of Victoria Hall, which was reported in the Journal in December.

“The idea is to bring all residences up to Watts and Leggett standards,” Meyerman said.

In the meantime, benches have been added in the three main common rooms to act as dividing walls, and new furniture was put in to make the rooms more inviting and comfortable, she said.

“We tried to find the best solutions we could in temporary things,” she said.

Meyerman said couches and chairs were some of the biggest additions to most spaces due to a chronic lack of furniture in all buildings. She also said that extra furniture is easily kept for later use.

“We’re looking ahead to next year,” she said.

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