A change of plans

Queen’s Centre town hall presents new options for project

Last night’s Queen’s Centre town hall meeting presented students with two new options for moving forward with the project.
Last night’s Queen’s Centre town hall meeting presented students with two new options for moving forward with the project.
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At a town hall meeting last night, the Queen’s Centre project team presented the student working group and other students with two options for going forward.

David Dymecki, a principal partner from Sasaki Associates Ltd., the architectural firm which designed the Queen’s Centre, gave a presentation.

Dymecki outlined the two options the Queen’s Centre project team is taking into consideration.

The first option is to build the fieldhouse before the Student Life Centre and the second option is to commence the construction of the Student Life Centre before the fieldhouse.

Each option includes plans to renovate the current JDUC facilities but at different times. The first option has the renovation of the JDUC as the fourth and last phase of the project, while the second option has the renovation as its third phase.

Dymecki said there are plans in each option to restore and protect the historical areas of the JDUC during construction.

“In both cases, we’re considering tearing down the historic part of the Bews gym and putting it back together and restoring it after. We have a better chance of protecting it from damage if we do that.”

According to numbers released at the meeting, the fieldhouse would run a total cost of $25.1 million, and the new Student Life Centre would total $46.9 million.

The renovations to the JDUC are estimated at $32.9 million.

The proposed pre-engineered arena would cost an estimated $20.3 million.

Originally planned to be included in the Queen’s Centre’s main campus design, the arena is currently without a designated spot in the reconfigured Queen’s Centre plan.

“One of the things that we’re looking at, at this point is an integration of the arena with the stadium,” Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne said. “The arena is not getting cut. It’s being relocated.”

Browne wouldn’t release any numbers regarding present construction costs.

“That’s a question that I simply cannot respond to at this time.”

Browne told the Journal the reason she couldn’t release any financial statements was because the updated Queen’s Centre financials are in the process of being calculated.

“We’re getting numbers from different sources. We got some numbers from [construction company] PCL and we’re also getting them from other sources. We should be getting some more in over the next week,” she said. “We’re working through it and we’re putting it all together. We just got some numbers in today and we have to disseminate everything.”

Browne said despite the changes, the project is still on track to finish on schedule.

“It’s feasible if the funding is available. Depending on which option we go to, it’s designed as a four to five year plan.”

Browne said the Queen’s Centre project team is still waiting to hear from the school as to how much of the Federal government’s $2 billion infrastructure funding will go directly into the Queen’s Centre.

“We’re hearing that there’s this $2 billion right there and we don’t know where it’s going. We’ll find out in the next two to three weeks,” she said.

The Queen’s Centre project team will meet with the Campus Planning Committee and Queen’s Executive Committee on Feb. 13 to decide which option to present to the board on Mar. 6.

“We will be presenting one of the options at that meeting. We hope that a decision will be made that day. It’ll all depend on funding,” Browne said.

The student working group called the meeting to gather student feedback but were discouraged by the low turnout.

AMS President Talia Radcliffe said due to the meeting’s low turnout, the Queen’s Centre student working group decided there was not enough student input for it to endorse an option.

“There were only five people that indicated a specific position. We are going to have to take it to Assembly on Sunday because there just wasn’t the feedback that we needed.”

Radcliffe said she was disappointed with the lack of interest shown at the meeting.

“One hundred and sixty people RSVP-ed to the invitation on Facebook and there was only about 60 students that were present,” she said. “I was sitting there, kind of thinking ‘Please give us something to work with.’”

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