Students at U of T’s Scarborough campus can look forward to a brand new student centre, opening in September 2004. The centre, currently under construction, will house lounges, student media, a multi-faith prayer space, student affairs, associations and clubs. Other amenities include health services, a restaurant/pub, and a bookstore.

The three-storey, 48,000 square foot building will be at the entrance to the campus. An eye-catching feature of the new centre will be brilliant titanium siding and roof. Despite the extra cost, at $200,000, the metal was chosen because of its durability and attractive appearance. “It won’t corrode, it looks the best, and it will be the first thing that people see when they come to the campus,” said UTSC student president Dan Bandurka.

Up until now the Scarborough campus has been one of only two university campuses in Canada without a student centre. “Some of the biggest complaints are that there is nowhere to sit and there is no food,” said Bandurka. The original design for the Scarborough campus, including student facilities, wasn’t fully completed as planned and this left the campus seriously deficient in student activity space.

The student centre will be run by the student union at Scarborough. Many of the ideas for the building have come from students over the years. Plebiscites were run in 1984, 1995 and again in 2001 to find out what was lacking in campus life. “Students wanted more food space, lounge space, the list goes on and on…the needs haven’t changed in 20 years,” said Bandurka. The design of the complex was based on many years of research and reflects these needs.

The funding for the student centre is coming largely from the students themselves. In March 2001, students voted two-thirds in favour of a $60 yearly levy per student. The provost will also match 50 per cent of that amount. The student levy will remain in place for approximately 30 years until the mortgage has been repaid. The $40 million-plus will amount to the most ever committed by students in the university’s history.

Other sources of revenue will come from the centre’s retail outlets and from donations. There is a total goal of $4 million for donations and although there haven’t been any made so far, Bandurka feels that “this project leans itself towards fundraising because it will directly benefit students.

“This building is a form of student empowerment,” Bandurka added. “Symbolically this project means more for Scarborough than any other project on campus ever.”

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