A Tale of Two Student Centres
The 50 Year Battle for Student Space on Campus
The First Student Centre: 1476 Crescent Street
The Daytime Student Association of Sir George Williams University started collecting a fee levy of $5 per year at registration in 1965 for a Student Centre.
Jan. 19, 1970: The DSA purchased 1476 Crescent St.
September 1970: DSA President Jonathan Wener opens the Student Centre; it has an art gallery, Karma Coffee House, Reading Room and Film Screening Room.
November 1970: The Georgian, Sir George William’s student newspaper, reported on the unpopularity of the SC.
Nov. 26, 1970: In The Georgian, written by President Wener: “It is disheartening to observe this lack of interest in the Centre.” Wener accused students of having “one building syndrome.”
1972: Renovations and improvements to the SC, known as “The Union.”
Nov. 10, 1972: The Georgian: “Let’s face it, that place on Crescent street is a white elephant.”
1974: A $50,000 deficit is announced at the DSA.
October 1974: The DSA put the SC up for sale. University not interested in buying details.
January 1975:The SC is sold to former DSA President Wener for $210,000.
The Search for a Second Student Centre
Jan. 29, 1985: Plans for a new Student Centre on the mezzanine of the Hall Building, due to the new library building plan freeing up space.
2000: The Space Plan: Student Services, clubs and associations to move from Hall Building to the GM Building. Student associations call for a student centre between the GM and future EV building.
“If you know any corporations that would like to donate money to us, we’d be glad to hear about it,” said Rector Frederick Lowy, asking for money to finance the centre.
June 2003: The Concordia Student Union sends the dean of students a Space Plan Analysis for the Mezzanine, the Greening of the Hall Building Terrace and The Faubourg Basement Project—to be completed by August 2003. The budget for the Mezz is $15,000 and the greening has a $10,000 budget. The Faubourg basement is supposed to turn into a student lounge and an art gallery. The budget is $7,500.
2003: The student body votes to institute a $1 per credit levy towards a student centre on the SGW campus.
2005: A vote to increase the levy to $2 per credit was passed “with no obstructions.”
2006: Joint discussions between the University and CSU led to identification of several scenarios for the SC building.
June 2008: CSU President Keyana Kashfi starts up the Student Centre project with a joint CSU/Administration working committee. She vows to sign it off by the end of her mandate.
The project is estimated at a cost of $68.4 million, and the university expects $5.40 per credit will be required to sustain the Student Union Building.
May 29, 2009: Kashfi finalizes and signs an agreement with Concordia. The arrangement outlines that students will amass $10 million towards the down payment and that the site will be determined by 2012. The target date for opening is 2015.
March 2010: The CSU Council puts the Student Centre back on the table with a referendum. The building is estimated at $43 million, and January 2011 is the potential purchase date. The CSU is “legally bound” not to comment on the location of the building. The referendum fails.
Oct. 12, 2010: The CSU Council approves a referendum question for the November byelection to increase the existing $2 per credit fee levy by another $2.50 per credit.
Nov. 25, 2010: A near-record number of voters oppose a referendum to increase the Student Centre fee levy to $4.50 per credit by the summer of 2012.
This article originally appeared in The Link Volume 31, Issue 22, published February 8, 2011.
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