Photos C/O Steel City Studios

On March 1, creative co-working space Steel City Studio threw a grand reopening celebration to mark the completion of its expansion and renovation. The changes, which began last November, brought better workflow to the space and will allow the studio to grow as a business.

The studio is now 2,000 feet larger than it once was. When the second floor unit beside the studio became available, cofounders Nadine Ubl and Jennifer Donaldson jumped on the chance to increase their square footage. By knocking down the walls between these two units, Steel City Studio now enjoys a brighter and more open space.

Beyond expanding, the renovation involved refinishing the oak flooring on the second floor, replacing the front door with a glass door, changing the tile at the front of the studio, adding a double glass door at the entrance and bringing the wiring up to code. It was important to Ubl and Donaldson to stay within the existing layout and maintain the charm of the 120-year-old building.

The most significant updates involved making the space more environmentally friendly. The old windows facing east and south were replaced by more efficient windows. Wherever they changed the light fixtures, they also changed the light bulbs from halogen to LED to decrease their power draw.

“[P]art of what we do is keeping in mind [the] environmental component. So by sharing a lot of resources, it means that we can sort of lessen our environmental impact,” Ubl explained.

The studio has become green in more ways than one. The most impressive part of the renovation is the moss wall and ceiling on the second floor. The greenery was done by Greenteriors, one of the businesses that uses space at Steel City Studio. While designed to absorb acoustics in the new open floor plan, the moss also serves to inspire the makers and benefit their health. It is also a sign of new beginnings.

To celebrate these new beginnings, the studio hosted an event to share the refreshed space with the community. They filled the space with artwork by the Hamilton Female Artists Collective and provided snacks, a cash bar and live acoustic music by musician Murray Thiessen.

They also announced the winner of their Spring Start-up Contest. The contest, which was ran through their socials, was open to creative entrepreneurs, artists and small businesses. They then invited the nominated makers to share their vision and tour the studio. The lucky winners were awarded two months of free studio space.

[W]e hear a lot that people want to gain access to the studio, but they're not really sure how to go about starting or, financially, they're not sure if they can make that commitment. So the point in this contest was to give someone the opportunity to get started in the space for a couple of months and help them to grow their business so that they can sustain staying in the studio,” Ubl said.

Helping small creative businesses grow is the main goal of Steel City Studio. Not only does the studio offer space on a membership basis, it also provides flourishing businesses with business knowledge and supplies. An example of this is the six-week program, Open Co-tivation, which kicks off on March 12 and is designed to help entrepreneurs keep one another accountable.

In addition to these programs, the studio hosts various workshops, such as the upcoming Screenprinting Basics on March 16. And on March 30, the business will be hosting its seasonal Open Studio, which allows members of the community to check out the studio as well as meet and buy from makers.

Expanding the space will allow the studio to further meet its mandate and grow its influence in the city. There is a definite benefit to being able to work with, support and seek advice from other makers. The studio wants to continue to cater to individuals who are just starting creative endeavours.

“I think what we hope to be is that next step for people that are transitioning into either work in a creative field or into their own business….  [T]hey had everything at their fingertips while they were at school and then when they go to leave it's like ‘okay and now I'm doing this from home, how do I do that?’ So we definitely want to solidify that a little bit,” said Ubl.

Steel City Studio occupies a unique niche in Hamilton by bridging the gap between the maker and start-up cultures. By expanding its space, the studio has more room for Hamilton’s small creative businesses to grow in.


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Photos by Catherine Goce

By Elliot Fung

The agenda from the McMaster Board of Governors meeting in April 2018 reveals that the Hamilton Health Sciences board has approved a plan to stop operating at its current facility within the next ten years.  As part of a 20-year redevelopment plan, HHS plans to relocate the Children’s and Women’s hospital away from the McMaster University Medical Centre to an expansion of Hamilton General Hospital.

The plan is part of HHS’s “Our Healthy Future” vision project and was approved by the HHS board of directors in 2016. The plan aims to holistically improve the services provided by various healthcare facilities in Hamilton.

“Form follows function,” said Aaron Levo, vice president of communications and public affairs at HHS. “Redevelopment of current infrastructure and construction of new buildings will help to improve the services currently provided by HHS.”

The outdated nature of MUMC’s infrastructure is also motivating the relocation of the children’s and women’s hospital.

[spacer height="20px"]Having been built in 1972, the current MUMC presents infrastructural difficulty when it comes to redevelopment due to the old architecture and the building materials used in its construction.  According to a per-square-foot cost analysis, the cost of redevelopment would equal or surpass the cost of constructing an entirely new building close to HGH.

Moreover, the MUMC is the fastest growing children’s hospital, second only to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto, and is expected to run out of space in the future.

However, the main reason for relocating lies in the need for the centralization of acute care services. The benefit of centralizing is that the acute care services, such as those provided by the children’s and women’s hospital, will be able to share healthcare technology used at HGH. This will reduce the future costs of having to duplicate expensive new equipment.

“Having everything in one place creates a better patient experience,” said Levo.

The interests of McMaster medical, nursing and other sciences students are being taken into consideration with these plans. HHS is working with McMaster and making consultations with groups such as the medical residency program. As to whether health science programs will move to HGH or stay on McMaster campus, it is too early to say. There are still a lot of details missing concerning the relocation and what effects it will have on McMaster students.

“[While the HHS’s plans] would create future opportunities for the use of the Health Sciences Centre building, it is far too early to have specific discussions about any changes that could potentially happen,” said Susan Emigh, director of public relations for McMaster faculty of health sciences.

The “Our Healthy Future” project was recently endorsed by the Hamilton Niagara Haldimand Brant Local Health Integration Network Board of Directors in Feb. 2018. The proposed plan is currently seeking provincial approval from the ministry of health and long-term care.

Next steps include functional planning and preliminary designing, both of which will come before the construction of a new building. Although “Our Healthy Future” is only in its early planning stages, concrete long-term changes to the MUMC are likely inevitable.

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A response to the "Taking the Pulse of campus projects" editorial from the Sept. 21 issue.

By: Shaarujaa Nadarajah

From being an SRA member to being on the Board of Directors, I have always tried to take criticism with grace. I am a strong believer in the notion that there are always ways we can improve as a community and the day I choose to reject feedback was the day I fail as a representative member. However, in my time as a representative, I have also recognized the value of using my voice to share perspective — maybe a perspective someone hadn’t considered and one that is integral to conversations we were having.

As a member of the 2016-2017 board, I can answer the first question posed in the editorial. I’ve held a Pulse membership for the last four years and am a frequent user of the facility. In my time as a Pulse user, one thing that was blatantly apparent was that the Pulse was overcrowded. But I wasn’t the only student that recognized this need as countless surveys sent out in the years before my term indicated that students wanted to see improvements being made to their athletic and recreation space.

Years of on the ground feedback collected by boards before us set the foundation for a space referendum to be sent to students where they directly got to vote on fee increases and whether this was a project they wanted the MSU to invest time and resources into. I guess the “true vanity” in this project came when the referendum failed by 10 votes the first time and how we had to go knocking on every administers’ door day after day begging the university to invest money into this project because that is what students asked us to do.

Construction takes time and expansions can’t happen overnight, however. The athletics department discussed in length the measures they would take to address the increased traffic they foresaw happening by planning to open up a pop up Pulse for students by end of October and by extending gym hours.

I will admit having an overcrowded gym is an inconvenience, but alternatively, I would gladly wait five more minutes for an elliptical if it means hundreds more students were taking advantage of their membership. I am willing to endure the short term pains to ensure the long term gains of working to build a healthier campus together. Are you?

But an overcrowded Pulse was just a small moot point in the greater systemic problem the writer was examining that was calling to question whether board members should work on long term projects. Making reference to Teddy’s failed Perspectives on Peace initiative and Ehima’s gender neutral bathrooms, the article does a good job of highlighting that one year is, in fact, a short time frame to work on some student projects.

However, what the article failed to recognize is the follow through these projects had years beyond these Presidents’ terms in office. After Teddy’s term, he went to work for Patrick Deane where he began the Model UN Conference, which was founded on the same principles as Perspectives on Peace and now continues to run as a yearly conference. As for gender neutral bathrooms, sustainability of projects are just as important to consider with the MSU’s yearly turnover and the gender neutral project is a true representation on how the MSU continued to work with the Equity and Inclusion Office to carry this project between multiple board terms because it remained a priority for students. In fact, I doubt many students even associate gender neutral bathrooms with Ehima any longer.

In order to leave a legacy, people need to remember you actually worked on the project. Using the expansion as an example, I hardly think three years from now students will even remember what board was responsible for initiating this project. All that will be seen is the hundreds of students who no longer have to eat their lunch on their ground or the religious faith groups on campus who will finally have a prayer space. The reality is we don’t do these projects for the vanity. We don’t spend over 60 hours a week working on these projects because we want the recognition. We do it because we care about students.

Students critique board members of coming short in making large-scale changes for them during their one year terms. However, when they attempt to take on large projects, they are critiqued for their lack of forethought in picking projects they can complete in their term. So, what I have come to realize is that whatever you do, you will always be faced with criticism. And that is okay because that is part of the challenge that comes with representing such a diverse population of 22,000 students here at McMaster.

So, I guess I will end it off here and bid you all farewell until the next 600 word article is written about us.

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