October 16 , 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 26  

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What the hell is that purple thing?

By Dan Perry
Gazette Staff

Anton Spadar/Gazette
PURPLE PEOPLE EATER. Western students beware: the new construction on the Concrete Beach will consume you with its hideousness.

Even the demise of Wet/Dry couldn’t stop the addition to Concrete Beach of what underagers prayed could be only one thing: Barney the Dinosaur’s beer tent for young’uns.

Students who cut out early for the long weekend were greeted with a surprise when classes resumed on Tuesday. It was not (as had been rumoured) a new, 24-hour beer tent, but instead it was the University Students’ Council’s latest addition to the Concrete Beach renovation — a purple roof over the stairs to the University Community Centre basement.

“[The idea of the roof has] been bandied about for years,” said USC services manager Paul Tomlinson. “It’s got two purposes — to protect the stairs, because in the winter they get jammed up with snow and the caretakers have to close them off. And secondly, it’s to give a little profile to the shops and services downstairs [in the UCC] to people coming onto campus.”

“Essentially, it lets people know that there are shops and services on the UCC lower level — that entrance wasn’t being utilized to its full potential,” said USC President Paul Yeoman, adding the new entrance was an aesthetic feature that was in the plans.

Tomlinson also remarked on the advertising benefits of the roof. “It certainly stands out, which is what you want,” he said.

The addition has been met by differing student responses.

“I think it’s hideous. I understand that it’s purple pride and everything, but look at it. Is this what we’re waiting for?” asked third-year political science and sociology student Angie Gachui.

Fourth-year health sciences student Greg Seabert said the new roof was in the way. “It just looks like the [USC shops and services] are just advertising for more money downstairs,” he added.

“I think it’s ugly. It’s cheesy and not very creative — going purple. It’s amid a sea of concrete and it’s purple. Maybe once we get some shrubbery, it’ll be nicer,” said fourth-year geography student Laura Hill.

Roger the Shrubber may already be on the case, though, as there are maple trees in planters waiting and more decorative stonework to be done, which ought to make the new roof a little less stark, Tomlinson added.

The continuously changing face of Concrete Beach has brought its share of reactions from everyone at Western and Yeoman said he is prepared to hear them.

“I invite any and all comments on the Concrete Beach renovation and you can direct them to usc.president@uwo.ca,” he said.



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