The Winning Bid

Photo Erin Sparks

After being presented with several proposals, Concordia’s Student Union unanimously approved the project-planning proposal presented to them by project management firm MHPM at last Wednesday’s council meeting—conditional to its lawyers’ approval of the document.

VP Clubs and Internal Nadine Atallah said approval is expected to come within the next couple days, with very minimal changes made to the original.

If that’s the case, meetings will likely start next week, and the project will be underway.

Prior to discussing the proposals at council, Atallah held a meeting with the recently formed ad-hoc student space committee to go over the proposals, and make a recommendation to council.

MHPM was presented as the most attractive option—a verdict council collectively agreed with.

The Proposal

MHPM presents itself as being founded on the primary goal of being able to address its client’s independent interests in the construction of buildings.

The proposal suggests working in tandem with the CSU to establish project objectives and subsequently conduct a needs analysis in consultation with students and groups/associations at Concordia.

From there, the data collected based on students’ wants and needs, alongside real-time and financially feasible options will be considered and used to establish a project implementation plan to move forward on.

“There is a lack of space in the downtown area and the only way I can see that we can move forward on this project is by doing it responsibly and by consulting with the students,” said Atallah. “This project-planning phase is probably the most important because it’s the foundation of the entire project.”

She explained the importance of looking at what students want out of their space and what space is available in the context of both present and future. “We have to remember that the life of a building is more than five, ten years long,” she said.

Thoughts From Council

The discussion at council surrounding the recommended proposal—prior to the motion that passed it—was eerily quiet. Atallah explained that the reason for this was likely that she had met with many councillors beforehand to discuss and go over the proposal.

Councillor Hannah Hackney spoke out during council and praised Atallah for her thorough and hard work in terms of going through companies and selecting the tabled proposals.

Councillor Gonzo Nieto, absent from Wednesday’s meeting, had a slightly different take on the matter.

“I felt that the general sentiment about what was on the table was that council would have liked to have more than just those two proposals to look over and compare to one another,” he said. But, he said, of the options presented, council made the right choice.

Atallah says that she was limited in her options because she was “looking for companies with lots of experience that could bring a lot of expertise to the table, and have a good reputation.”

“But we also we needed a company that would only have the CSU’s interest at heart, and would help us negotiate with the university in a way that they would not have any biases and that they only represent the CSU’s interest.”

She says that despite this obstacle, she doesn’t think MHPM is a less attractive option. “It’s really a great proposal, from a great company with a really great background and references.”

As far as references go, those offered by MHPM were plentiful and relevant in nature in relation to the proposal presented to the CSU.

Atallah explained that despite being a major firm, she believes the CSU will still be receiving the personalized attention they are seeking.

“They are a pretty big company, but they are trying to pierce the university market in Quebec,” she said. “Because they are interested and still not huge here, they are giving us that one-on-one feel we would have looked for when dealing with a smaller firm.”

When asked if she had any concerns about MHPM’s proposal, Atallah said she is confident that the firm will do a good job.

CSU President Shubert Laforest’s sole concern was that everything be done on time.

“We are working now on a really compressed timeline so I really hope that everything is done within the timeframe,” he said.

The project, from start to finish, will cost the CSU $97,300.