The college’s Board of Governors (BofG) was updated about three Windsor campus building topics during its September 22nd meeting: the state of the new student residence, parking development, and the operational management of the new Sports Park.
First, in a report furnished by Vice-Presidents Ron Seguin and Joe Sirianni, the Governors were informed that the COVID-19 pandemic had slowed construction on the new residence.
Its construction was to have been virtually completed by this month (September), and the residence ready for occupancy by early in 2021.
That building is being built – and will be managed – by a private-sector, Toronto-based partner, Global Education Mihome (GEM).
A ground-breaking for that 512-bed facility, located just to the northwest of the existing Quittenton Hall Residence, was held in late-February …
… And just two weeks later, the pandemic found its way to Canada, shutting down or slowing down the activity among a number of industries.
In the case of the new residence, the foundations of the new building have been installed, as has most of its servicing and structural steel.
What was delayed, considerably, by the pandemic was the unit-by-unit, pre-fabricated construction of the rooms.
The units will eventually be trucked to the campus, one by one, and assembled – Lego-like – into the new structure.
The Seguin/Sirianni report to the BofG stated that “Z-Modular (the industry pre-fabricating all of the rooms) has begun production of 89 units at its Kitchener plant … (and) … Installation of the new modules is slated to start at the end of November, 2020, with an expected completion by the end of January, 2021. Substantial completion of the project is slated for July 16, 2021. This will give the management company approximately one month to set up all requirements (for occupancy by students at the beginning of the fall semester of the 2021-22 academic year).”
Another report, by Sirianni and Chief Financial Officer Marc Jones, detailed the administration’s new short- and long-term plans for parking development.
These come in response to an ill-fated attempt, earlier this year, to find a private-sector developer who might have been prepared to construct and manage a parking garage on behalf of the college.
The few construction companies who submitted proposals for that project said the cost of such a structure would be in the $15 to $18 million range, necessitating parking fees for students and staff of at least $900 per year to reasonably recoup their investment.
A subsequent survey of students revealed that although they favoured the development of such a facility, the majority (three-quarters) of them would not be prepared to pay such highly hiked fees.
The alternative plan – more lots – has already been launched.
The Sirianni/Jones report noted that $2.5 million worth of construction this year has already created 220 new lot spaces, in the form of roadside parking, the expansion of the existing “D” lot, and the creation of the new “V” lot on former parkland at the far north end of campus.
Within the next year or two, $5.5 million will be spent to renovate the huge “C” lot, perhaps including a second-level deck, creating 250 new spaces; and $2.5 million to create an additional 135 new spaces at as-yet unspecified sites at the South Windsor Campus.
Finally, a report by Seguin updated the BofG about the managerial plans for the new Sports Park (soccer/football stadium, softball diamond, Zekelman indoor tennis facility). It stated:
The St. Clair College Sports Park will be substantially completed by the end of October 2020, with an open house ceremony planned for Monday, October 26, 2020.
Ongoing construction meetings with St. Clair College, Fortis Construction and the Student Representative Council (SRC) have taken place since COVID-19 delayed construction in March 2020. The supply chain for building materials has been challenging.
The Sports Park construction is projected to be completed within budget at this time.
As of September 2020, the following project details have been completed:
• A tripartite Sports Park Management Agreement has been signed with the SRC and Saints – Student Athletic Association (SSAA).
• The 2020-2021 slate of SSAA members have started online meetings and are being orientated as to their responsibilities to the Sports Park, both financially and operationally.
• SSAA has agreed to hire Windsor Tennis Management to operate the Zekelman Tennis Centre. Students will have access to tennis, tennis lessons and intramural tournaments. The facility will operate 360 days per year from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and will include community access/rentals.
• A balanced operating budget has been developed for the initial year of Sports Park operations. The budget includes the creation of reserves to mitigate risk moving forward.
• As the Sports Park nears completion, community rental requests have skyrocketed. It is important to note that this is a “student first” facility; thus, community rentals will only be added once our student requirements are determined.