The McMaster University Student Centre will soon be receiving the upgrades promised in the Student Life Enhancement Fund vote in January 2015.
After a feasibility study of possible upgrades, the McMaster Students Union has proposed several changes to better use the space in the student centre.
“The focus of our conversations that the board had at the management group was increased seating and better traffic flow – those are the mandates,” said Teddy Saull, MSU President.
To improve the seating space in the student centre, many of the current tables in the food court will be replaced with new furniture that is better organized.
“The food court area will have the same number of seats but they’ll be more concentrated and it’ll be new – so it’ll be like fixed seating to make nice clear pathways for people to walk,” said Saull.
Bar stools will also be installed on several of the empty wall spaces in the student centre as a way to offer more seating for students.
But the largest change to seating is the expansion of wall near the Mills Library and Starbucks entrance to create another seating area.
“The entrance by Starbucks is going to get moved down closer to Compass, and that’s going to become a quiet study hub in front of Starbucks – so it’ll be like a coffee shop-esque feel,” said Saull. The wall will be expanded to where the pillars currently are located outside of the entrance near the Starbucks store.
In addition to increasing seating areas, the student centre upgrades will include a re-design for improved traffic flow.
The upgrades propose a new staircase that will increase the ease of traffic to the Arts Quad. The staircase will be placed on the west side of the Arts Quad entrance, and the seating area will be modified to accommodate these stairs.
Although the two major goals of the upgrades are seating and traffic flow, the atrium will also be seeing upgrades.
“Through [the Student Life Enhancement Fund] we are going to put a new sound system in the atrium, a permanent sound system, and possibly […] a screen over the fireplace, so it would be like Times Square,” said Saull.
The idea of doing a major expansion to the student centre was also explored, though it was ultimately determined that it was not in students’ best interest.
“There was a proposal for a multi-million dollar project to push the atrium out to the parking lot, that would have created a bunch of new space,” said Saull. “But we didn’t have enough in our MUSC operating fee to do something big like that, and we thought like for our MSU reserves that we’d rather save that for a new space.”
The proposal will go through the board of management for approval in April 2015.