Spoke patio slim, shady

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

February 7, 2008 Ed Cartoon

Western administration is going forward with a plan to place a new Student Services building between the University Community Centre and Weldon Library next to Western Road.

The new building will block out the sunlight currently enjoyed by patrons of the Spoke patio behind the UCC. The Spoke receives a large chunk of its seasonal business from people eating and drinking on this patio.

Undoubtedly the lack of sunshine will be hard on business.

It will also put a damper on a celebrated university institution. Students enjoy emerging from the winter doldrums to enjoy the sun. Having a place to enjoy the sun and a beer is a big part of “Canada’s best student experience.”

Many students have been unaware of this planned new building. A lack of information put forward by the university is one explanation, although the building is part of the master campus plan available to students.

The new building was also overshadowed by other major campus projects including a new recreation centre and planned renovations to the UCC.

Centralizing student services takes precedence for the university over how a portion of students enjoy the sunshine. Western is clearly trying to act with student interests in mind. There is a proposal for new green space in the vicinity of the building to replace what will be lost.

However, in order to achieve the best student experience, arrangements should be made to remedy the costs of the new building.

The University Students’ Council runs the Spoke, and the loss of revenue from the patio will hurt its bottom line. Administration should cooperate with the USC to provide an alternative solution.

One alternative for students is the Grad Club. However, there is not enough room at the already crowded Grad Club to accommodate the extra business.

With renovations planned in the near future for the UCC, now is the optimal time to provide a long-term solution.

A possibility would be seating on Concrete Beach near the Wave entrance. This location has hosted alcohol events, such as Oktoberfest, before. A setup similar to the current Spoke patio would prevent patrons from feeling caged in a concrete jungle.

A more intriguing, if expensive, plan would be to build a rooftop patio atop the UCC. Imagine looking down over campus while enjoying a tasty buffalo wrap and a frosty pint.

A centralized outdoor social spot would be a great boost to Western’s campus. The idea is not to promote a party zone. Many students use the Spoke patio after exams or class in the warmer months to relax with friends.

Western has a beautiful campus, and for many students a part of enjoying that atmosphere is having a place to sit and sip a beer outdoors.

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