Laurier releases ambitious new possible completion date for university centre, keeps fingers crossed

According to the latest Laurier Brantford press release, the new University Center slated to be built on Dalhousie St. could be completed as early as fall 2010. This new building will not house a cafeteria but will likely include academic classrooms, office space, and a new bookstore.

The University Center could be a $12M building, or upwards of $50-$60M depending on government funding. Acting vice-president, Bruce Arai, told the Brantford Expositor that the university has applied for additional funding from the government at both the provincial and federal level.

“A lot of the preparatory work has already been done, so really, we’re waiting to hear how much money (will be coming) from the federal program, and matching provincial fund,” he said in the article.

The provincial budget is scheduled to be released on March 26th. By the end of April, we should know where the Federal government will be spending their dollars. An ambitious start date of late spring 2009 has been set as the university awaits the release of those budgets.
This isn’t the first time a target date for the completion of the University Center has been set. In the 2007/08 school year, a target date of fall 2009 had been released regarding the cafeteria project of the University Center, which has now been put on hold indefinitely.
“The Dining Hall in Brantford has been put on hold and is no longer part of the University Centre scheduled to begin construction this spring,” said chair of WLUSU’s Board of Directors, Asif Bacchus.

“While WLUSU will begin collecting a $15 per student per semester fee in September 2009 as per the referendum question passed last year,” continued Bacchus, “the failure of the increased fee of $25 per student per semester during February’s election has put us in a difficult if not nearly impossible situation when negotiating further to confirm any form of dining hall facility in Brantford.”

This information was backed by VP of Brantford Operations, Zach Mealia.
“We have to find funding elsewhere,” he said. “Students not voting in favour [of the fee increase] have only set the projects back even further.”

Earlier in the year, nearly 70% of voting students rejected the idea of increasing the cafeteria fee which will be placed on them in fall 2009. This came shortly after The Sputnik revealed that even current first year students will likely not have access to a cafeteria before they graduate despite having to pay the extra fee. This coming year, students will begin paying a new cafeteria fee in the amount of $15 per semester despite the hold on any building project for a cafeteria.

Bacchus believes an increase of the fee to $25 per semester is the best way to bring a cafeteria to the Brantford Campus.

“Re-presenting this question during next year’s election and properly marketing why such an increase is necessary will be a top priority for the incoming Council and Board of Directors. In the meantime, the Students’ Union remains committed to its stance that more and better food options are needed at the Brantford Campus and will continue to lobby toward that end.”

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