New res buildings in works

Board to allocate funds for construction plans

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Plans have been put forward to build two new residences on campus by fall 2015.

The proposal was put forward by Queen’s Development and Planning Committee and passed on Sept. 28 at Board of Trustees.

A portion of $400,000 from Queen’s Residence operating budget will be allocated for construction plans, which include hiring architects to design the new residences. The plans for the buildings will be voted on at Board of Trustees in December.

Dates for when construction will begin haven’t been determined. The exact location of the new residence buildings is being kept confidential. 

Approximately 90 per cent of first-year students live in residence, according to a 2010 report. In September of this year, the JDUC admitted 98 first-year students into its residence which had previously been occupied by graduate students.

The two new residences will be located on main campus and will house an additional 550 students. They will be similar in design to Leggett and Watts Hall residences on campus.

Both of these buildings are comprised of single rooms with double beds and a shared bathroom for every two rooms. 

Lauren Long, undergraduate student trustee, said the motivation cited for developing the new buildings at the Board of Trustees meeting was an increase of funding from the Ministry of Education for increased enrollment.

“The Provost said that the majority [of rooms] will be for first year students and it is reasonably expected that after these buildings will be built, first-year enrollment will increase,” she said.

Long, ArtSci ‘13, said she and Rector Nick Francis opposed the proposal because of lack of research conducted by the University.

“They talked about how to accommodate new students coming in but there was no discussion for additional costs for students, such as additional classroom space and additional health services, and these questions weren’t addressed to the Board,” she said.

Queen’s Provost Alan Harrison has begun a long-term strategic enrolment plan, Long said, but without appropriate consultation with members of the Queen’s community.

“He has begun this process but has only consulted [Faculty] deans and nobody else from the broader University community.”

She added the new residences buildings will have a negative effect on the Queen’s community.

“It is such a tight-knit community feel and we felt that growing the school without considering the implications of the student experience was irresponsible,” she said.

Ann Tierney, vice-provost and dean of student affairs, said that the new residences are an important part of University’s goal to increase undergraduate enrolment on campus.

“Residence living is a key component of the first-year experience at Queen’s,” she told the Journal via email. “We have been growing undergraduate enrolment moderately over the last several years. Anticipating how we could increase residence capacity in the future is part of strategic planning.”

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