Western to see $5.78 million in structural changes
By Brendan Howe
Western students will see a $5.78 million improvement over the next year in buildings around campus as a result of the Canada/Ontario Infrastructure Works program and fund-raising efforts by the university.
Middlesex College, D.B. Weldon library and all three affiliated colleges will be renovated for the future, the university announced Friday. Physical as well as technological improvements are on the agenda for the next year.
"Building and maintaining a university among the first ranked in the country is a never-ending process," Western president Paul Davenport said.
Davenport said the partnership between the federal and provincial governments was a key factor in the initiative. The federal government plans to contribute $1.2 million to the project while the provincial government will give Western $1.24 million. The rest of the money, $3.31 million, will be obtained through private fund-raising efforts.
"When you start to invest in institutions such as Western, the pay-back is big-time. I'm a great supporter for infrastructure programs to the university," said Joe Fontana, Member of Parliament for London North Centre. The federal government announced an extension to their infrastructure program in 1994 and this funding is a result of it, he said.
Senior director of physical plant and capital planning services Dave Riddell said $3 million will go to providing space for the new faculty of open communications and learning at Middlesex College while Weldon will receive $2.5 million and the rest will be dispersed among the affiliated colleges.
He said renovations to Middlesex will take place from December to May, library construction will be from May to October 1998 and the affiliated colleges will renovate in March 1998.
VP-academic Greg Moran, who is also acting dean of the new faculty, said Middlesex College will be improved in a number of ways, including in computer and other information technology equipment.
He said other renovations to be made include the installation of air conditioning and improvements to wheelchair accessibility.
Moran said the university currently has over $100 million worth of infrastructure needs which have to be addressed. "We're looking for government to recognize the existing backlog of infrastructure needs and to act on it," he said.
Claude Pensa, chair of the fund-raising campaign committee and former chair of the Board of Governors, said renovations to Weldon will include bringing the library completely up-to-date electronically, creating a new entrance and making additional space for new computers.
The money will be put toward academic improvements at King's, energy improvements at Brescia and classrooms at Huron, Riddell said.