As the self-stylized legend Kanye West once rapped, "Yeah, you know what this is: it's a celebration, bitches! Grab a drink, grab a glass, after that I grab yo ass."
It's a celebration, bitches--construction has finally started on the Taylor Family Digital Library and the University of Calgary has taken some concrete steps towards completing its ambitious capital plan. But let's leave the streamers in storage, put the cake in the freezer for the moment and put a hold on the ass-grabbery. The capital plan still has a few holes in it, even with respect to the TFDL, and there are still major issues.
Students, take a glance south of the MacEwan Student Centre and gather in the sight of the desolate wasteland that will be the future home of Taylor Family Quadrangle. Get used to the brown and fences, because that will likely be the very same view you'll be getting during your belligerent Bermuda Shorts Day celebrations this year. For the moment, it seems the construction is encroaching in on what is typically beer-garden territory, which is strange considering the fencing is surrounding an area outside of the actual footprint of where the building will be.
Also curious is the aggressive lumberjackery inflicted upon every piece of foliage in the quadrangle area. It makes sense to chop down trees directly where you're building a building, but why knock down a tree several metres away from where the building is, in front of the MacKimmie Library? Though, when no progress has been made for so long, maybe doing something irrational is better than doing nothing.
Admittedly, it's admirable that the university has finally started putting holes in the ground and making forward progress with this lumbering giant of a project, but after so many years of planning, it doesn't make sense that there are still things up in the air. The Mac Hall loading dock issue is still being resolved and the use of the MacKimmie Library after the TFDL is built is a mystery.
But maybe rationality isn't a key element of this project to begin with. The TFDL's interior will be similar to the current library tower. The quadrangle is envisioned as the heart of campus and a foot-traffic only area. But the university already has a foot-traffic greenspace--the Swann Mall. It may not be the heart of campus, but that's the reality of the university's current layout. The centre of life on campus will be the MacEwan Student Centre, regardless of what the university builds. Since the majority students are here on campus during cold months, it is unlikely an outdoor space will ever be the nexus of student activity.
For this generation of students, the TFDL and its quadrangle has little meaning. The majority of students on campus won't be around when it's completed, either because of graduation or attrition. Since we have no choice, let's just revel in its less-than-glorious birth while we can.
"We hit the liquor store, got some cris and some mo and we about to let it floooooow..."