AMS working to finalize JDUC revitalization

Open house held Monday to present options for $1.2 million fund

An image showing the potential renovation of Wallace Hall to become a student lounge space.
An image showing the potential renovation of Wallace Hall to become a student lounge space.
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One proposed project is building a bridge alongside the Wallace Hall exterior, crossing the Upper Ceilidh.
One proposed project is building a bridge alongside the Wallace Hall exterior, crossing the Upper Ceilidh.
Photo: 

The AMS hosted an open house on Monday night to inform students about and receive feedback on how to spend the $1.2 million JDUC Revitalization Fund, the first time it has presented the current potential projects to the public.

The AMS, working with Shoalts and Zaback Architects, proposed five potential projects they believe will revitalize the JDUC. The projects would be financed by a $1.2 million fund collected through the Queen’s Student Centre fee that constituted the AMS’s capital contribution to Phase 1 of the Queen’s Centre.

The AMS must spend the JDUC fund before April 2015, as stipulated by an agreement with the University.

The five proposed projects students will choose from are the creation of a bridge running alongside the exterior of Wallace Hall over the Lower Ceilidh, fixing the acoustics in Wallace Hall, creating a lounge space in Wallace Hall, expanding the JDUC archway and restoring the Upper and Lower Ceilidhs.

Which projects will be chosen will be determined through a student survey, released on the AMS Facebook page on Monday night, and by what will be the most affordable combination of projects given the limited funds.

It wasn't specified how much each individual project could cost.

AMS Student Centre Officer Troy Sherman said the open house would allow for the AMS to evaluate which of these projects would be the most well-received by and practical for students.

"This is part of a student consultation on how to spend the $1 million JDUC revitalization fund,” said Sherman, ArtSci ’14.

“We can get one project, or we can get a combination of projects and we can package this totaling $1 million.”

Sherman said the goal of the JDUC revitalization is to create a more welcoming space for students.

"The idea behind the revitalization project is really to make the JDUC more of a destination for students,” he said.

“We get a lot of foot traffic through the JDUC on a day-to-day basis, but what's a project that will keep students here — that will make a switch to staying in the JDUC and using the facilities and resources that are available to them?”

Raymond Zaback, a co-founder of Shoalts and Zaback Architects Ltd., will oversee the revitalization projects chosen by the student body. The Kingston-based firm has worked on other Queen’s projects, including the School of Medicine and the Human Media Lab.

Zaback said he’d most like to see improvements to Wallace Hall.

"I think the one that makes the most sense to me is the refurbishment of Wallace Hall. That would be some refinishing inside the hall, refinishing the floor, providing some acoustic material in the room to make it more usable as a place of assembly," he said.

Zaback said it was possible that some of the projects — such as the Wallace Hall refurbishment or the building of a bridge — could be finished as soon as the end of summer 2015.

He said the overall purpose of revitalizing the JDUC — specifically Wallace Hall — is to capture the history of the building in a more modern context.

"These buildings have a lot of great assets, and obviously the historicism of these buildings, they're very precious to this university ... But [Wallace Hall] is kind of tired, worn out, doesn't connect very well to the rest of the building,” he said.

“It makes a lot of sense to improve it, bring it up to date and make it more multi-purpose."

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