More work left for the Isabel

Students dissatisfied with long commute to new arts centre

Students still have complaints about the Isabel’s amenities.
Students still have complaints about the Isabel’s amenities.

After almost five years since its ground-breaking on Oct. 9, 2009, accessibility issues surrounding the Isabel Bader Centre have yet to be entirely solved.

The Isabel, as it’s been nicknamed by the University, is located on King St., roughly 15-20 minutes from main campus. During its construction, students complained about a potential lack of access to meals within a 10-15-minute walk. Express shuttle routes 501 and 502 run up and down King St. and stop at the Isabel, but their only stop on campus is at Kingston General Hospital on Stuart St.

The Isabel opened for classes on Sept. 8.

On March 14, the Queen’s Film and Media Society organized the Artists on the Run Parade, which targeted the University administration for the Isabel’s lack of transportation and food.

Students marched together from the BioSciences Complex to the Isabel holding signs asking the administration to take notice of student concerns.

Since then, Susan Lord, film and media department head, said she’s been working with Jo Brett in the office of the University Registrar in an effort to make film students’ timetables as convenient as possible. She’s also looked to improve food choices at the Isabel.

“[I] asked for healthier food options in the vending machines,” she said, adding that her message will be stronger if students join in.

She added that the film department has worked all summer with the University to ensure opening the Isabel would run as smoothly and conveniently as possible for students.

A new crosswalk was implemented this summer in front of the Isabel’s entrance on King St. to ensure student safety, which Lord said shows the “responsiveness” of the City of Kingston as well as the University to students’ safety concerns. The University was unable to comment by deadline.

Laura Wyatt, who’s in the Computing and Creative Arts program, said she’s faced with a 20-minute rush to get from her class in Macdonald Hall to the Isabel.

“They obviously just ran out of real-estate [closer to campus],” Wyatt, ArtSci ’17, told the Journal via email. She said the University has the ability to make the Isabel more accessible.

The addition of bike lanes on King St. could make it a more “safe and easily accessible route” to the Isabel, she added.

Wyatt said the centre’s biggest problem is the lack of community, which she attributes to the food issue.

“It would be nice to have an original cafe there to really complete the building and give other incentive [for students] to stick around,” she said.

Overall, she enjoys and appreciates the addition of the Isabel to the Queen’s arts community.

“I love the centre and I am happy that there finally is a major appreciation/funding for the arts. I felt that it was previously lacking.”

Film and media student Ariel Silverstein echoed Wyatt’s concerns.

“The main reason I chose to come to Queen’s in the first place was the quick and easy access to campus,” Silverstein, ArtSci ’15, told the Journal via email.

The Isabel offers an open fridge for students to keep their lunches in, as well as vending machines, but there are still no plans to implement a cafeteria. The lack of food was another disappointment for Silverstein.

“While I am not in production classes, those who are will have long and hungry nights working on their projects in the editing rooms,” she said.

Regardless, Silverstein said she likes the Centre overall, adding that she appreciates that the Film and Media department has a building to “better represent” itself.

“Nonetheless I do believe that there is a lot of work that still needs to be done on the building to make it feel like home once again,” she said.

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