“The Frontrunner”

Admin, CSU open up about the Student Union Building

Months after the student centre referendum question overwhelmingly failed last November, university administration and the Concordia Student Union opened up to student media on Feb. 22 to disclose a more detailed plan moving forward.
And that plan is for the Faubourg.

Acknowledging that “a lack of clarity and limitations of what could be said [about the Student Union Building]” hurt the November referendum, both parties said they are finally in a position to discuss the specifics of the SUB, and are ready to move forward on the Faubourg if students approve a plan to finance its purchase.

“[We’re here to] reiterate our commitment to a partnership with the students,” said acting VP Services Roger Côté, explaining the Faubourg is something being “seriously and actively” studied as the possible site for the future Student Centre.

“The university has a definite interest in that facility,” he continued. “Between the various possibilities, this is one we would like to signal as being a very prominent one. But that’s something the students will have to accept.”

While recognizing student concerns about the project—specifically a lack of clarity in the 2004 contract between the CSU and the administration, as well as the potential loss of student space throughout the downtown campus as a result of centralization—CSU President Heather Lucas and VP External & Projects Adrien Severyns agreed that the Faubourg “makes sense, [as] it’s a part of Concordia and it’s the most affordable and realistic option for us.”

“What we want to see in the coming months is that the project incorporate the student body a lot more,” said Severyns, who said that members for a working group, called “the student space and student centre committee,” will be appointed at the next CSU council meeting on March 9.

A working group of administrators and student councillors are also scheduled to meet in the coming weeks to update the renovation budget and operating costs, which weren’t available as of press time.

“The numbers we presented [in November] were the generic ones, and we’re now working towards clarifying them for this specific project,” said Associate VP Facilities Management Peter Bolla, who added that renovations to the Faubourg are “still in the order of $20 million.”

With a reworked budget and a more developed idea of the location pending, and with students continuing to contribute approximately $1.3 million in fee levies towards the student centre each year despite the failed November referendum, both the CSU and the administration seemed confident about the future of a project they can now discuss in the open.

“There has been a lot of work done, and I’m still optimistic we’ll move forward on this soon,” said Bolla.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 24, published March 7, 2011.