Yet Another ConU Space Case
Admin Purchases Upper Floors of the Faubourg
Despite a being turned down as a location for a student centre by students not once but twice, the Faubourg is back on the books for Concordia.
“The Faubourg has a history and it is not necessarily a very good history,” said Nadine Atallah, Concordia Student Union VP Clubs and Internal, citing the building itself as one of the main reasons 2010’s proposed student centre fee levy increase was voted down by students when it came to referendum.
“It’s just a bit ironic that students decided to vote against a fee levy increase because they found out that the building in question was the Faubourg—only for the university to purchase it for themselves anyhow,” she said.
The fifth and sixth floor of the building was acquired by the university for the price of $4.5 million, which the school intends to pay by drawing from rental revenues and loans, said Concordia spokesperson Chris Mota.
Once the space is transformed and can be declared “academic,” the school should be eligible for grant money from the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology as Concordia currently falls below government norms concerning student-to-space ratios.
The university says the space will make room for a planned expansion of the Webster Library, currently housed in the McConnell Building.
“They need more space, so the goal is to expand the library upwards,” said Mota. “It would take over the fifth floor, and then the option would be to continue to go higher and higher.”
She explained that as a result, the departments and offices currently housed on those floors would have to be relocated, which is where the Faubourg space comes in.
A representative from Webster Library was unable to comment on the expansion project prior to press time.
Despite being skeptical about the location, infrastructure and stigma attached to their most recent purchase, Atallah isn’t opposed to Concordia acquiring some new space—something she believes is definitely much needed.
“We are lacking library space for sure, or at the very least we are lacking study space,” she said. “I think that we are especially short on library space downtown and it is something that students are really looking for, so renovating upwards is definitely a necessity and something I was happy to hear about.”
The details surrounding the renovations that will be required to transform the space and the timeframe of such an undertaking has not yet been determined.
“This is very much a long-term plan, still,” explained Mota. “So no decisions have been made in terms of what exactly will be going into the space—but it will be academic.”
Even if the school had figured out concrete details, nothing tangible could be put in place just yet anyway. A series of tenants still occupy the Faubourg’s upper floors, and retain rights to it until their leases expire.
While Mota was unable to give an exact date by which the space would become available, she said it would be at least a year or two away.
Update: An earlier version of this article referred to the the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology when it should have referred to the Minister of Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology. The story has been updated to reflect the correct information. The Link regrets the error.