Terrace expansion over budget

This Friday’s Wilfrid Laurier University Students’ Union (WLUSU) board of directors meeting turned heated when WLUSU president Kyle Walker presented the board with the budget for the ongoing Terrace expansion, which is set to finish in December and add an additional one hundred seats to the union’s operation.

Originally set to cost $1,050,000 with funding that has been allocated from the student life levy since the 2007-08 year, the ongoing construction project is now projected to be over budget by $430,541.13.

Unforeseen costs included a plumbing retrofit, electrical upgrades and the construction of a mechanical room. Walker asked the board to approve the allocation of $46,555 from the environmental service fund (ESF), which no longer collects a green fee from students, along with a Line of Credit up to $383,986.13.

“This is what happens when you approve projects so far in advance,” Walker told the board.

However, the board questioned the allocation of funding from the ESF and the fact that projects like fixing plumbing in the existing food court should have been brought to the attention of the board long before the meeting on Oct. 15.

“It seems like a lot of projects we have are going over budget and that isn’t being fiscally responsible,” said director Ted Brown, questioning why planning for a maintenance room had been overlooked. Walker later explained that summer projects completed by the union had been under budget.

WLUSU general manager Mike McMahon explained that taking a line of credit out with the university will mean the union will pay a lower interest rate over what he expects to be five years. It was a decision that didn’t sit well with all board members.

“I understand why you have to do it but it’s not morally right,” said Chris Oberle. “It’s not ethical of the union to be putting the burden on students five years down the road.”

Motioning to accept Walker’s suggestions, director Greg Evans explained that the board was “stuck between a rock and a hard place,” and Oberle agreed, stating “we can’t really do much about it now because we either have an empty building or we have something for students to use.”

The motion passed 7-2-1 as only directors Oberle and Brown voted against the motion and director Mike Passmore abstained.

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