Photo by MJMA Architects

Just across from what will be the Peter George Centre for Living and Learning, ground is about to be broken for another major infrastructural project.

The McMaster Students Union recently launched a second consultation campaign for the Student Activity Building, a four-story building project that students voted in favour of in a school-wide special referendum in March 2017. The building is expected to be fully operational by the fall of 2020.

In August 2017, the MSU ran an initial consultation campaign to determine the different uses of the new building. The ongoing second campaign began this September and hopes to collect student feedback on the interior design of the building.

“This addition to campus represents years of student consultation being put into action. Many different groups collaborated in order to make the Student Activity Building and Pulse expansion a reality". - @itsikramfarah, MSU President. Vote here:

— McMaster Students Union (MSU) (@MSU_McMaster) September 18, 2018

The SAB space ad-hoc committee, which is composed of six combined MSU and Student Representative Assembly members, is overseeing the consultation campaign. The group is being led by Alexandrea Johnston, the associate vice president (Finance) for the MSU.

“This year, the campaign is on the interior design, so that is ranging from anything to what kinds of colour do you want to see on the walls, what kind of furniture, and what do you even want the building to be named?” said Johnston.

The campaign includes a survey that asks students to pick from a number of options for the interior design of the building. It can be accessed online through the MSU website or in person at tables in MUSC on Sept. 25 and 28.

The SAB is different from other McMaster buildings in that while the university committed ten million dollars to the project, students are responsible for paying 70 per cent of the capital cost of the building once it opens.

As students are paying for the vast majority of the building, the MSU has full say over the uses of the building.

“The McMaster Student Union has full operational autonomy over the building,” said Scott Robinson, MSU vice president (Finance). “We can decide that we want to own the grocery store. We can decide to change event space to a pool. Whatever we want, whatever it is, we have full operational autonomy.”

The first consultation survey reached approximately 1,500 students, 400 of which took an online survey similar to the one found in this year’s second campaign.

With more than 25,000 undergrad students at McMaster, Johnston is trying to reach more than 400 to fully assess student wants.

The four-storey building will feature a nap room and a grocery store. However, the building has not been fully designed yet. Once Johnston’s SAB committee receives feedback from this second campaign, information will be passed to Robinson and the MSU. According to Robinson’s year plan, a report will be filed at the end of the first semester on the campaign.

Excavation for the student-funded Student Activity Building will begin in November, just across from the Peter George Centre for Living and Learning.

McMaster students are encouraged to make time to fill out the survey and give their feedback and thoughts on what they want in the new building, considering the large part they contribute to its funding.

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