The idea of building a student centre at Nipissing University has been talked about for decades. Over the years university presidents have come and gone, and Nipissing University Student Union (NUSU) executives have moved on. But finally, the dream that never seemed to die, is now a reality.
Shovels are in the ground preparing for construction of the $13 million student centre at the North Bay campus.
University president Dr. Mike DeGagne says NUSU already has 7 to 8 million dollars of the over-all cost collected from student fees.
The site, located at the corner of College Drive and Monastery Road is in the process of being cleared. Once construction is completed in 2020, it will be the first thing visitors see when reaching the campus, the first indicator of student life at the university.
During the official groundbreaking ceremony, the NUSU president told the crowd that seeing a project of this magnitude finally come to fruition, is the culmination of years of hard work and dedication. Daniel Goulard went on to thank students and alumni for their financial contributions over the years which is helping to partially fund the project.
The design of the two storey building allows for a student-owned and operated restaurant option. A moveable wall will open to the adjacent nightclub creating one large space to host conferences and workshops or community events.
“We look forward to the positive impact this facility will have on campus and the greater North Bay community. NUSU promotes academic excellence and social growth, and we feel this building will allow us to continue to do so, by providing space for conferences, educational forums, study sessions, as well as concerts and events,” said NUSU President Daniel Goulard.
The administration was credited with understanding how critical a piece of infrastructure like the student centre is for the university.
The university president says the centre will add to Nipissing’s reputation as a place where students can learn and enjoy their university years
“The recent McLean’s rankings have shown that we lead the country in student satisfaction and student services. This will be another part of that,” said Nipissing University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike DeGagne.
“It does help sell the university. We have a very good record of tracking students who visit the campus. When they see the services that are here, and the number of students, they’re wowed and they come to stay.”
DeGagne says the project is student driven.
“It is a building of the university but once it is built the students will finance the on-going operations and maintenance of the building. It is important to remember that Nipissing University and the Nipissing University Student Union are two separate organizations. Our student union is independent, makes its own decisions, has its own board and does its own financing, so it is more of a partnership between two institutions.”
Speaking on behalf of the faculty, Dr. Denyse Lafrance Horning noted that a great deal of student learning takes place beyond the traditional classroom environment.
“This beautiful student centre is incredibly important as it presents our students with more opportunities to learn. It is a venue where students, faculty, and community members can come together and engage in important dialogue, and have important conversations, share ideas, and debate topics in a very welcoming, relaxed and comfortable environment.”
The university president invited people to watch the centre being built in time-lapse photography, and then come for the ribbon cutting ceremony once it is complete, sometime in 2020.