Planning the change of Market Square

On Oct. 19, the Market Square Project Committee held a town hall meeting for students to voice their opinion on the future of the Brantford Campus Library.

Over 20 students attended the first of seven meetings to address their concerns and ideas regarding the new library, the centrepiece for a newly-renovated 250,000 Sqft. Market Square.

Brian Barron, partner at Education Consulting Services (ECS), explains that Laurier needs a facility to support the growing number of students attending Laurier Brantford. “Market Square gives the university the ability to use that growth. This place needs a big idea. The library can be a part of that.”

Barron and his partners are a part of a working committee of consultants that collect and present recommendations to the school. “Our job is to set a frame for the first iteration,” says Barron. “What modern university libraries become is set by the students. They bring that perspective.”

Laurier, which bought the Square more than two years ago for $5.8 million dollars, hired ECS and Toronto-based architectural firm Moriyama & Teshima to run the meeting.

Shahid Mahmood, senior urban planner from Moriyama & Teshima Architects, explains the process of the meetings. “We’re here to see the place from your perspective. We can take that vision and see what’s feasible.”

Of the many suggestions given by students, there were a reoccurring ones. Having a student friendly atmosphere, 24-hour access during exams and a designated quiet study space sat at the top of most of the students’ agenda.

“When I went to school, the library was a different place than what it is now,” says Mahmood.

During the meetings, the 7-floor Ryerson Student Learning Centre was shown as a basis for what Market Square could be. The Square is planned to be a modern space for commercial and educational services.

Anthony Massi, director of Brantford Operation and Laurier Brantford Alumni, was among the many who voiced ideas. He suggested “A soft seating element in the library where students could gather in groups or individually to work.”

Students agreed that there should be a place on campus for them to0 call their own. Market Square surely has the potential to be that place, although it might not be fully for students.

Michel De Jocas, a partner at ECS, addressed the students’ concern. “Laurier doesn’t want to become downtown Brantford. Laurier wants to be in downtown Brantford”.

Jocas and his team will attempt to find a balance between students and locals using Market Square. “There needs to be integration between Laurier access and public access,” says Jocas.

Students will have several more opportunities to voice their ideas and concerns in the upcoming weeks. The second meeting held on Nov. 3 in Market Square Suite 301, will focus on campus experience, campus life, athletics and recreation.

It is highly suggested that students attend to help shape what Market Square could be for the future well-being of Laurier Brantford.

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