Building for the Future: Student Life and Learning

December 2014

SLL1 Student Life and Learning (SLL) Building project for the Macdonald Campus that has been winding its way through the University for some time has finally wound its way back to campus.

Academic success arises from the combined influence of program, support services and extracurricular activities. A growing campus needs to satisfy all of these dimensions, and it was with this in mind that Dean Chandra Madramootoo and Morton Mendelson, then Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), charged a small workgroup with the task of developing a plan for a facility on the Macdonald Campus that would serve the needs of a growing and diverse student population.

Overall enrolment in the Faculty has grown tremendously over the past 10 years and currently stands at more than 2,000 students; enrolment is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. Existing facilities for services to students are spread out in several different buildings on campus; buildings that are somewhat removed from the academic core. While some facilities are dated, others are spaced inappropriately or isolated. Gathering places to meet and share are few and far between.

SLL_2 The first round of discussion on a Student Life and Learning Building garnered the interest of University administrators but the project was simply too ambitious. The team was called back to the table to rework the plan so that it would be better suited to a campus of this size – a facility that would become the heart of the campus and would provide our community with best-in-class services. Plans include providing space for Student Government offices and club rooms, Athletics and other Student Services operations, Student Affairs Offices, and Food and Dining Services.

Consultants from Ernst Young were hired late this fall to undertake a financial feasibility study that will explore potential funding opportunities and, ultimately, the financial sustainability of the project, and the Macdonald community’s first public consultation was held in November. A second consultation will be held in January.

What are your thoughts on this project? To keep abreast of project developments and to learn more, please visit the SLL project webpage.

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