Volume 94, Issue 49

Friday, November 24, 2000


Ladies Night draws females in Waves

York strikers verbally attacked

City's Board of Control questions colleges

Council erupts with Massive debate

UBC moving to new campus downtown

There's more to life than being apathetic

Campus Briefs

Planet Me

UBC moving to new campus downtown

By Chris Lackner
Gazette Staff

University of British Columbia students are going downtown – and littering it with books.

UBC is set to expand its campus in downtown Vancouver for the upcoming school year, said Doug McArther, senior director of public policy for UBC.

He confirmed the university has signed a 10-year lease of the Robson Square Conference Centre, located in the heart of Vancouver 20 minutes away from UBC's main campus.

"We are very crowded for space on main campus," he said. "The new building is in the centre of a booming residential and business area. It's a suitable location for us to expand capacity. Students who live close to the downtown area can take full advantage of the convenient location."

McArther said a wide range of academic studies will be accessible in the new building, including professional schools, new technology programs and continuing studies programs.

Despite the 10-year renewable lease, McArther said the university views the Robson Square building as a permanent addition to campus.

Kathleen Elliot, media spokesperson for the British Columbia Building Corporation, the public owner of the centre, said the Robson Square facility encompasses three city blocks, of which only a small portion has been leased to UBC.

"The area in question is about 80,000 square feet," she added. "It was previously used as a convention centre."

Elliot said she thought UBC would make an excellent tenant. "It's a good deal for the university and the people of this province. It will bring a lot of life back into the centre."

She said she could not release lease rates for the university, because it could compromise the BC Building Corporations ability to deal with future clients.

Ersan Kazemi, vice president of academic and university affairs for the UBC Alma Mater Society, said the expansion would benefit UBC, but expressed concerns that the new building could drain funds from existing campus infrastructure.

"Because of the expansion procedure, funds will be diverted from infrastructure costs," he added. "We have to take care of our current campus first. There needs to be a balance between new development and existing infrastructure. You've got to finish what you've started."

Jane Hutton, acting associate vice president for continuing studies at UBC, said she fully supported the downtown campus expansion.

"UBC is on the outer edge of Vancouver and this will reposition us in the core," she added.

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