Volume 92, Issue 58

Tuesday, January 12, 1999



Private university a possibility

New renovation proposal costly but efficient

Frat finally pays up

Applied mathematics founder dies at 77

GM motors cash through U of T


MP3s bring music revolution

Caught on campus

New renovation proposal costly but efficient

By Sabrina Carinci
Gazette Staff

Western's latest make over is well on its way to being started and administration is just aching to get the ball rolling.

In a meeting yesterday afternoon, the Senate Committee on University Planning approved the latest changes to Western's renovation project which is $1.6 million more than the $4.4 million estimated in the first proposal made late in November.

Greg Moran, VP-academic for Western, said the main changes made from the first proposal include three computer labs in the basement of Somerville House, two new classrooms with a capacity of approximately 200 people in both Talbot College and Somerville House, as well as the final decision on the new location of the Peacock Room, which will not leave Somerville House as it was first proposed, but rather simply move to another location in the building.

Despite the cost increase, Moran said he is confident with the newest plan and feels it is both an excellent and efficient proposal. "Of course, I'm always disappointed when a cost is increased," he said.

Dave Riddell, senior director of physical plant and capital planning services, said the newest proposal stems from a meeting last Friday with the subcommittee on university capital allocations. Riddell agreed with Moran and said the new plan is certainly more efficient. "This plan is better and it's more detailed. I'm pleased with it," he said and added he is also confident the cost is fair.

Riddell explained the details of the cost increase stem mostly from changes to Somerville House. Once renovations are finished, Somerville will be complete with one 211 seat classroom, three 85 seat classrooms, two 45 seat computer labs and one 38 seat computer lab.

Ian Armour, president of the University Students' Council, said he was not happy with the first proposal. He said he believes the second is a much greater proposal altogether because it is able to incorporate many other benefits to students, for only $1.6 million more.

"The school is almost 125 years old," Armour said, adding some of the renovations proposed are needed for students to be able to enjoy the educational atmosphere. "We're here for education foremost – this is something I'm willing to support."

When asked about the timing of the renovations, Armour agreed the university's rather quick timing to the completion of the projects may be seen by some as rather speedy. "A strong argument can be made that they've gone too fast, but the university has a serious problem with space – they have their reasons for going about with such haste," he said.

According to Moran, the new proposal will be passed on for approval to the Property and Finance Committee next Monday and, if approved, construction will start immediately.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999