Students’ Union plans Student Centre renovation

The Brock University Students’ Union (BUSU) has money burning a hole in its pocket.A $150,000 expenditure was approved at an executive board meeting. The money will be used to secure an architectural consulting group to design renovation plans that will make better use of the space in the Alumni Student Centre, said Duncan Small, BUSU president.

Small said just over $1 million has been allocated for the entire project, which he predicts will be completed during the summer of 2002.

“We need to look into the future to see what we will need to cope with in the upcoming double cohort,” said Small.

At BUSU’s annual general meeting on Oct. 9, Small announced that a referendum will be held this winter, once a renovation plan has been agreed upon, if all goes to plan. The referendum will be held concurrently with the BUSU executive election and will be a yes or no question asking the student body if they accept the plan presented.

The money for the renovation is coming from a portion of Brock students’ tuition money, specifically allocated for Student Centre improvements, which students voted in favour of in the 1999 health and fitness center referendum.

Small was hesitant to make predictions of what the renovations would include.

“It’s still too early to tell exactly,” he said. “We are still waiting on securing an architect.”

Small did say the plan was to make better use of the space in the Student Centre.

“The arcade room and the BOC (Brock Off-Campus) lounge are useless,” Small said. “There are a lot of weird angles.”

Small also mentioned that the food court at Isaac’s would probably be looked into due to the “traffic jams” caused by the poor design for high volume traffic flow.

Small said it is difficult to predict how far the money will go.

“$1 million dollars is not a lot,” he said.

Focus groups and surveys done last year by BUSU indicated a need for more meeting and lounge space, Small said. An identifiable front entrance and a better lobby could possibly be in the plans.

Those are a few of many options being looked into.

“To be honest,” said Small, “a lot depends on the Campus Master Planning Committee.”

Small said a number of things must be considered, including the traffic flow to the building.

“Right now the Student Centre is a spoke, not a hub,” noted Small.

Part of the money for the project will come from the Pepsi Fund, which has mounted to $150,000 over the last three years. Each year Pepsi gives BUSU $50,000 to spend on the “betterment of student life” for exclusive rights for selling their products on Brock campus.

The executive is appearing positive about the likelihood of this renovation. Brock Crest Catering, a BUSU-run alternative food service for conferences that runs out of Isaac’s Bar and Grill, has not been booking summer conferences because they could be under renovation this summer.

“The renovation could have an impact financially,” said Small.

BUSU business manager Ron Gourlay said “it is a little premature” to predict how much money BUSU could lose if Isaac’s is shut down through the summer.

He said the renovations could be outside of the building, creating a smaller effect on the businesses inside. “It’s tough to say,” he said.

There is also the chance that the students could reject the plan offered in the referendum. Small said this is the year to make any major renovations in order to beat the 2003 double cohort.

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