You decide if you want it, next week
//Samantha Thompson, News Editor

The Capilano Students’ Union has about a million dollars saved up, and on February 15 students will have the chance to make the final decision on whether or not to spend it.

The money has come from the building levy, a levy agreed upon by students in 1999 that would collect money from students in order for the CSU to get new student space on campus. The CSU has been in negotiations with the university for some time now, and a lease is ready to be signed for new space – once the CSU receives its membership’s approval.

“This is something that we’re really excited about,” says Gurpreet Kambo, chairperson of the CSU and of the Building Committee.

The CSU executive has called a Special General Meeting, which will occur on February 15 in the CSU lounge, at 11:30 a.m. At the meeting there will be several motions with regards to the lease and spending money from the building fund. As is standard with the CSU, free food will be provided to students who attend the meeting.

The lease includes the current student lounge in the Maple building, as well as two classrooms in the Library building, with windows that face Arbutus. The classrooms will be renovated so that they can also be turned into a lounge space.

The lease is for 30 years, with two five-year options to extend. The executive committee’s offices, however, will be provided to the students’ union free of rent, which Kambo says is because the university is recognizing that the CSU is a part of the university, too.

“I think we’ve heard from our students … that they want more space to meet with each other, to hang around, to feel like they belong to a community,” says Cindy Turner, Capilano’s Vice President for Finance Administration. “It was really important to us to try and address some of their needs.”

According to Kambo, there were several offers that went back and forth before this lease was decided upon.

“The idea was, we don’t have a current agreement so … there’s no obligation for them to give us space. If they want us to leave they could just be like ‘okay we need to use this space, get out,’” says Kambo. “They could do that if they wanted to, so this way it offers some security.”

The rent will be paid out of the building fund, which has enough money to cover the whole 30-year term. The fund also has enough money to cover the cost of renovations on the new space. The CSU will be hosting forums on Tuesday, Feb. 15 and Thursday Feb. 17 in the universal lunch hour to hear what students want to see in their potential new space.

“We’re hoping that people will bring their craziest ideas,” says Kambo.

“It’s probably the biggest project the CSU has ever taken on. We think that this will benefit a lot of students.”

The CSU’s membership approved the spending of $10,000 at a recent general meeting, so that the building committee could have a report prepared by an external company determining the value of the space, in order to ensure the CSU was getting a good deal with the lease. The lease will be available for inspection by the CSU’s membership at the general meeting.

“I think it’s been a very open process,” says Turner of the lease negotiations. “We’ve been very generous with the students because obviously it benefits both the students as well as the university to have a good social space for the students.”

There will be several motions voted on at the Special General Meeting: to approve the lease as presented, to approve spending up to $200,000 from the building fund to renovate and furnish the new space in the Library building, to empower the CSU to make all future and final decisions to move the project to completion, and to have a full report, including financial expenses, be presented at the fall 2011 Annual General Meeting.

The CSU has also spent $2,200 plus HST to have Alfred Waugh Architects create concept drawings for the renovation of the new space. These drawings will be presented at the general meeting.

“There’s just such a lack of social space … on campus,” says Kambo, “[and] that is something that we could provide.”

//Samantha Thompson, News Editor

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© 2011 The Capilano Courier. phone: 604.984.4949 fax: 604.984.1787 email: editor@capilanocourier.com