Riding a larger campaign team and a cheaper price tag, the Pulse expansion/student activity building referendum has passed.
The final tally was 59.2 per cent votes for the project and 40.8 per cent against. 3.6 per cent people abstained. 30.1% per cent of the student population voted.
In January, a similar referendum question was posed to students, but failed by 10 votes.
Following the narrow vote, the university committed $10 million and asked the McMaster Students Union to send the question back to referendum with a lower price tag for students. The MSU president Justin Monaco-Barnes and vice-president (Finance) Ryan MacDonald took leaves of absence from their positions in order to campaign in favour of the project.
The vote means that students are immediately on the hook for an additional $95. This pays for the Pulse membership fee and eliminates the additional fee that users currently had to pay. The $95 gives McMaster undergraduate students access to the Pulse. That number jumps to $105 when the student activity building opens.
To accommodate the expected increase in users, the Pulse will increase its hours and open an auxilary workout area in one of Smith or East Auxilary gym.
Students will begin to pay for the student activity building when it opens. The cost will be $2.99 per unit, capped at 30 units per school year for a total of $89.70.
The expansion and building addresses a significant need for McMaster students.
A 2011 campus capacity study cited data from 2008-2009 that classified the need for more student “lounge and service space” as a top-five priority.
According to the presentation made to the SRA in Nov. 2016 to pitch the original building, 80 per cent of students identified student space as their top priority.
That number comes from a 2015 McMaster Students Union space survey. 90 per cent of students identified unprogrammed space in their “top ten student space wishlist” in student focus groups run by the MSU in 2016.
The student activity building and expanded Pulse are set to open in 2019-20.