Editorial Board 1998-99
Planning and organization are two key elements of any institution of higher learning when dealing with academics, research or any type of infrastructure changes.
Occasionally things need to be rushed along because of unforeseen circumstances but in most cases, situations can be predicted and problems can be avoided. The need for class space, computer labs and other educational facilities are examples of requirements which, with some degree of planning, can be assessed and a well thought out course of action can be developed well in advance.
Western's current plans to renovate Somerville House and several other areas on campus do not, however, follow this ideology.
The need for more class space wasn't assessed until late last year and capital planners all over the university suddenly have to hop onto the expressway with construction plans for the renovations to be done by September. Unfortunately, they appear to be driving a beat up 1975 Pinto in which, the faster it goes, the more of its structure falls apart.
Granted, improvement to educational facilities on campus are always a welcome development, it appears the latest round of campus renovations haven't had sufficient thought and time put into the process.
Originally, a $4.4 million facelift was presented by the university's VP-academic Greg Moran at a general information meeting in late November. That figure has since risen to $6 million on account of three additional computer labs in the basement of Somerville and several other "adjustments" to the original proposal.
This alone screams the fact that the renovation process is getting rushed through. The emphasis thus far has been on getting construction started by the end of the month, not on the plan itself. Perhaps it would be a good idea to consult with members of the university community, without being prefaced by consideration of when the construction must be started by.
This series of events is not alone in the university's apparent need for a long-term planning calendar. Earlier this year a class was cancelled because there wasn't space for it to be held an occurrence which is a complete embarrassment.
However, someone figured out that an influx of business students for next year will cause a need for even more classroom space. Thankfully, special consideration has been made for those paying $8,000 a year for tuition and none of their classes will be cancelled.