USC, admin begin UCC lease negotiations

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

When it comes to negotiating the lease on the University Community Centre, it appears the University Students’ Council and Western administration are on the same page.

Since the current UCC lease, created in 1995, expired in 2005, negotiations are now underway. These talks will shape the future of Western’s community centre.

Currently, the UCC is jointly run by the USC and the University.

Western owns the building itself, and areas such as Centrespot and Student Health Services. The USC controls the Wave restaurant and bar and Spoke lounge. Agreements for common space also exist.

Former USC President Fab Dolan told The Gazette last year students paid the UCC’s mortgage, rent, construction and renovation costs for the past 35 years despite the fact administration retained control of the building.

He added that control prevents the USC from offering low-cost food vendors or cheaper new textbooks.

USC President Tom Stevenson said council hopes to come away with some big wins.

“It’s like the renovations project where the sky’s the limit, though we are restricted by physical space,” he added. Stevenson explained the UCC lease agreement and upcoming renovations go hand-in-hand.

The USC is currently moving forward with renovation ideas, having received viable student feedback from last term’s “Reno Cafés” and surveys.

“We were able to see some commonalities between groups, [such as] open space, flexible space, study space, healthy food options and [sustainability],” Stevenson noted.

“We can take all those concerns to the contractors.”

Stevenson assured the USC will take student concerns to the lease negotiations.

“What we’re going to be working for at the USC is to get the best possible result for students so we meet their needs now, and we meet their needs in the future.”

Gitta Kulczycki, vice-president of resources and operations, echoed his sentiment: “We hope that the lease is renewed in the best interests of our student body and the university. We’re looking for space to be used optimally within the [UCC] ... a win-win for student interests and university interests.”

Kulczycki added both the USC and university are very mindful of the pending renovations.

“The renovations and the lease are both big projects that are important and have to be important in the long run,” Stevenson said.

“It’s beneficial both projects are happening at the same time, because what happens to one will effect the other.”

Stevenson is optimistic about the negotiations leading to a shared vision of the UCC by the administration and the USC.

“We’re positive things will go well and both parties will come away satisfied.”

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