GIE pushed back a year

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The lot on University Ave. will remain empty for the entire 2012-13 school year. (Photo by Cristina Rucchetta).

Despite the demolition of the St. Michael’s building on Wilfrid Laurier University’s campus last fall, the building site still remains empty. It will eventually become the location for the new Global Innovation Exchange building, where the School of Business and Economics and department of mathematics will be housed.

With a recently revised completion date, WLU’s physical resources department hopes it will bring some positive change for faculty and students.

When the university received funding for the project, the completion date was set to be September 2014.

However, this date has been pushed back to February 2015.

“The schedule changed because we changed the scheme of the building,” explained Gary Nower, assistant vice-president of physical resources.

Originally, the building was designed to have an open courtyard in the middle. “It was a great design, very efficient and functional,” Nower said. “But in going over the design with committee members and representatives from the university, there was really a desire to have more student focused space, meeting space, study space and ceremonial space.”

To accomplish this, Nower stated the committee members decided to close in the courtyard, creating an atrium. Due to the scale of this change, the schedule had to be modified.

“It’s not a delay; it’s part of our design process,” stated Nower.

In the meantime, the registrar’s office is working hard to accommodate the loss of classrooms from the demolition of St. Mike’s.

“This year the dean of arts, Mike Carroll, helped us a little bit to get a lot of classes to be taught on either Monday, Wednesday, Fridays or Tuesday and Thursdays,” explained Marlene Ibrahim, associate registrar of examinations and scheduling.

With these changes, they were able to make everything fit.

“It has been challenging, but with my team’s help we’ve done a great job, I think,” said Ibrahim.

Despite having fewer classrooms, there will still be space available for students to reserve for activities. During the week, between 8:00am and 6:00pm may be challenging, but weekends are generally available, as well as Friday afternoons and most Thursday evenings.

Of course with the new atrium in the GIE building, student space will not be as tight come 2015.

“It’s a beautiful building,” said Nower. “I think people are going to be very happy with it.”

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