Don't you hate construction?
These days, light campus naps are often interrupted by the grating sounds of heavy machinery. Similar rude awakenings will likely continue as the University of Calgary enters its formative teenage years.
At 40-something years old, the U of C is not an old campus compared to the other, better institutions Canada offers. The University of Alberta, for example, is over 90 years old. Its age is evident not only in its buildings, but also in essence and reputation. In comparison, the U of C is like a rowdy teenager: prone to hasty judgment, disrespects tradition and, worst of all, cursed with an acne-ridden campus.
The growth spasms the university is currently undergoing are telling enough. Unlike the previous few years buildings are steadily going up in the heart of campus and are an annoyance to all parties involved. The new Information and Communication Technology building means heavy relocation for the technology faculties and departments. The Students' Union has the unenviable task of reworking MacEwan Student Centre to today's needs.
Nonetheless, construction presses on. University brass recently approved directions for new construction on campus under the Campus Community Plan of 2001. The plan's instructions are interesting and intriguing, although some prospects are rather grim. Over the next 25 years, students, staff and faculty will suffer even greater construction headaches aside from simply searching for a place to nap. The university will age and mature, but will such growth be painful?
Of primary concern for automobile-bound students will be a gross lack of parking on campus in a city where the car's importance ranks slightly behind the Bible. Lot 12 is already on the block while construction of the Calgary Centre for Innovative Technology proceeds, and Lot 10 will lose space to a relocated Collegiate Boulevard and Sports Pavilion.The CCP calls for a new parkade to be located in the northeast corner of campus, fairly close to north side of the Math Sciences building.
With respect to parking, we do have a bit of an edge over our Edmontonian counterparts. Parking at the U of A costs $6 in any lot during the day, however they can come and go as they please. Maybe we should consider ourselves fortunate that we've still got Lot 10--for the time being.
Other concerns include the massive shuffling that will occur as new buildings go up and old ones come down. The CCP calls for swing space, simultaneously stating that university space constraints are already an issue. A walk by the ICT construction and Math Sciences would lead one to think that trailers will one day form the base of university infrastructure. Why does a U of C trailer park seem a little too funny? Is it because such an assessment is true?
As the Gauntlet staff will happily attest, MacEwan Hall (of late 1960s origin) is one of the most poorly designed buildings imaginable. As the CCP proceeds, it's interesting to sit back and ponder how this campus may one day look and how it may be better than today. Construction will continue and so will growth, and the U of C will one day be an institution wiser than it is today.