Deciding the future of MacHall
In 2011 the university created a detailed plan to completely redevelop the student centre. It included:
- New locations for many programs, businesses and services,
- An updated look to the interior and exterior of the facility,
- A three year shut down,
- A $155 million price tag.
In response to the plan, the Students’ Union (SU) ran a consultation during last year’s fall and winter semesters to get meaningful feedback from undergraduate students on their student centre. The SU believes that the plan for the future of the building must begin with a clear understanding of how the student centre is used. Both current and future student needs and expectations must be the foundation for any plan to redevelop the student centre.
And now the results are in!
More than 6,000 students spoke loud and clear about what they love, what they hate, what needs changing and what needs to stay the same in a redeveloped student centre.
After compiling the results from students, the SU made 19 recommendations for changes to the plan for MacHall, such as:
#2: “Maintain or increase dining options and increase dining seating space.”
#4: “Increase study and social space.”
#8 “Increase SU commerce in a redeveloped MacHall to contribute to funding this initiative.”
#9 “Maintain food services and access to core student support services during the redevelopment process.”
So what now?
On Nov. 7, 2013, Raphael Jacob, Students’ Union President, announced that he is bringing forward a proposal to have University of Calgary undergraduate students vote in a referendum on the future of the MacEwan Student Centre (a.k.a. MacHall) in the Students’ Union elections next March.
“What surprised me most about the consultation was how willing students were to contribute to the future of the of their student centre. Four in five participants indicated they are willing to pay something for the redevelopment within the range of $67 to $92 annually in student fees,” said President Jacob, explaining why he is planning to bring forward a proposal for the first increase to Students’ Union fees in 17 years.
“Since I was first elected on the SU three years ago, I’ve fought against increasing costs and non-instructional fees levied on students without their approval. That’s why I believe that the proposed redevelopment should not move forward without students making the final decision,” said Raphael.
Change is coming to MacHall.
The SU is pleased to present MacEwan Student Centre: The Future According to Undergraduates - Recommendations from the Undergraduate Student Consultation. This report was released on July 31, 2013 as a compilation of the data collected during last year's consultation of 6,350 people. The responses have been analyzed and the report recommends several significant changes to the 2011 Proposed Master Plan for MacEwan Student Centre to better align the vision for the future of the building with the needs and expectations of undergraduates.
The report contains many surprising results, but none as surprising as students' willingness to financially support the redevelopment of MSC provided that the changes they are requesting, as identified in the report's recommendations, are made to the plan.