JDUC revitalization to break ground on Monday

$1.2-million fund may cover fourth project, AMS says

An artist conceptual of the completed construction project
Supplied by AMS Communications

The long-awaited $1.2-million JDUC revitalization project is set to begin construction this upcoming Monday.

Last year, the AMS surveyed students on which project designs were the most appealing. Three project designs were chosen — a skylight in the upper ceilidh, a restoration of Wallace Hall and an elevated walkway in the upper ceilidh. 

Picking up from where last year’s AMS executive left off, Vice President (Operations) Kyle Beaudry said the current team has focused on moving forward with construction.

During the summer the executive put together a Request For Proposal (RFP), which allows various construction companies to bid on the job. The companies’ proposals were then reviewed by Nirali Patel, the SLC Managing Director, to choose a company for the project with cost-efficiency in mind.

Although the original construction date was scheduled for Jan. 11, so far no physical work has been done to the JDUC. However construction workers have been on-site since Jan. 11 planning logistics, with physical construction set to begin Jan. 18.

Patel said the three projects will be done simultaneously. They’re projected to be completed by the end of June. They won’t obstruct the flow of students through the building.

Beaudry added that this early start date was intentional, because the summer months can be used as a buffer if there’s any kind of delay.

“The last thing we’d want is to start anywhere near a scenario that would leave September exposed to construction in this building,” Beaudry said.

So far, Beaudry says the project is coming in “under budget,” which is “a good and bad thing.” He says although there’s money left over for a potential fourth project, they’re not yet sure how much. 

“We just received that news, like really, really recently,” he said. “There’s a couple things built in there before we just go ‘okay, we have more money, we’re going to try to do more with that’.”

Before moving forward with a possible fourth project, any potential unforeseen costs have to be calculated, and the AMS would have to seek the same amount of student input that the AMS sought for the original project choices last year.

“If you pick [a new project] a month down the road, you might realize that you have a 50-100 thousand dollar issue you have to fix in one of the original three, which is the last thing you want,” Beaudry said.

“[That’s why we’re] moving a little bit slower on that, in order to be absolutely certain that we’re spending the money responsibly.”

The $1.2 million comes from student fees that were meant to go towards funding a new student centre for the three-phase Queen’s Centre project. In 2011, when it was clear that phases two and three of the Queen’s Centre weren’t going to be completed, the AMS cancelled the $141 fee.

(Click here for more on the Queen's Centre)

At that time, the AMS entered a contractual obligation with Queen’s to sign away this portion of fees for a revitalization of a student space. The chosen location was the JDUC.

The University, who signed original contract with the AMS, has been kept in the loop on the projected timeline for a potential fourth project.

“They’re kind of lockstep with us in what’s going to happen in the next few months,” Beaudry said.

In the interim, a kickoff meeting has been held between all involved parties to discuss the details of construction and parts of the JDUC have been blocked off to prepare for Monday.

 with files from Jacob Rosen

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