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Plenty room For growth

by | Nov 2, 2023 | Campus, Education | 0 comments

Campus capacity remains reasonable, but pinch points exist

Students walking around campus during peak periods may find it challenging to get to their destinations quickly. Certain corridors, such as the pedway connecting buildings nine and 10, can get crowded. With lanes of students heading in either direction, you’ll need to move in calculated lockstep to avoid bumping into the people around you. 

Traffic is to be expected during periods like lunchtime, especially at the start of the new term and in tight quarters like the pedways. But, a lively campus doesn’t have to be a bad thing. 

Heather Hutchinson generally hasn’t had trouble finding spots to study or rest in Allard Hall. However, the fourth-year communications student says that she often hears concerns about noise pollution on the MacEwan Confessions Facebook group.

“I’ve heard people complain that nobody respects the quiet space [in the library],” says Hutchinson. “I like the private study or group meeting places.” She says more private spaces would be nice, but questions how feasible it would be to add more on campus. 

SAMU’s Vice-President of Student Life, Cierra Jacobs, echoes a similar sentiment and remains open to student feedback on the topic of crowding. Jacobs says the SAMU building is SAMU’s biggest response to student space needs.

“Although MacEwan reportedly has the lowest campus space per student in western Canada, SAMU has not received any recent complaints regarding crowding on campus,” says Jacobs.

According to the university’s MacEwan Means Business campaign, the campus is almost at its space capacity. As the university raises funds for the new business building, the number of enrolled students continues to grow. MacEwan is aiming to increase enrolment by 5 per cent each year to reach 30,000 students by 2030. 

“Although MacEwan reportedly has the lowest campus space per student in western Canada, SAMU has not received any recent complaints regarding crowding on campus…”

Cierra Jacobs SAMU VP of Student Life

Robert Sabulka, MacEwan’s associate vice-president of infrastructure, planning, and management, says that MacEwan is developing additional spaces to ensure the campus has enough room for the growing student population. In his statement, he lists initiatives such as new classrooms in Building 7 and new labs in Building 5. Additional projects are in the works to help increase campus capacity.

“The Exiting Project [West Village Square] will add more gathering space and plans are underway for additional renovations in Building 7 to enhance access to student services,” says Sabulka. Upon its completion, the new business building will expand the campus significantly. The building will add 33 classrooms and labs, 27 student collaboration spaces, and 15 study areas, according to Sabulka. 

Student opinions on campus space varies. In Buildings 5 and 6, second-year insurance and risk management student Yi Lang has experienced crowding, especially at the start of the term. “The aisle is always so packed,” says Lang. “Before the class, people just have to run to the classroom.”

Over time, Lang was able to find a couple of locations with space, including Allard Hall and the third floor of the library. Despite that, Lang thinks the school should clarify where there is more open study space capacity.

Students who are struggling to find a spot can try visiting Lang’s recommended spots or drop by the SAMU building to cinch a seat. Jacobs encourages those looking for quiet to visit SAMU’s dedicated study room. “We have a silent study space on the main floor that is under-utilized and would love to see an uptake of use.”

Photo from Canva

Sandrine Camminga

The Griff


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