The Advisory Committee on the Faculty Club continues to examine the feasibility of re-opening the former Faculty Club building as a financially viable gathering place.
Over the past six months, the committee has spent many hours discussing and investigating different options for a university gathering place, said committee chair Jacqueline Rice, director of UBC's Financial Services.
A survey was developed and administered to a broad constituency of the university community in April of this year. The committee designed the survey to gather input on the needs and wants of all university members regarding a social centre.
"Overall, survey respondents indicated strong support for a university gathering place and emphasized the importance of such a facility to individuals and to the university as a whole," Rice said.
The survey results also showed that the majority of respondents would only use the facility during the daytime hours, with lunch being the most desirable service. Due to the changing demographics and lifestyles of the university community, evening and weekend use would be minimal, survey results showed.
"The lack of business for food facilities during off-peak hours would require membership dues to be charged to ensure financial viability," she said. "Respondents to the survey clearly indicated their support of a gathering place would diminish as membership fees increased. Many respondents felt that a university social centre should be a non-elitist, non-membership oriented entity."
After lengthy discussions with Campus Planning and Development, the committee also concluded that a significant initial capital investment would be required to upgrade and renovate the existing building. This capital could only be obtained through a major fund-raising initiative.
"The committee realized that these barriers to a stand-alone social centre may be overcome by combining efforts with other entities on campus. To this end, the committee is now actively pursuing a partnership with the proposed Liu Centre for International Studies, and with the Housing and Conferences Dept.," Rice added.
The concept that appears the most financially viable will be presented to the Board of Governors at its July 24 meeting. This concept consists of the following general plans:
The bottom floor of the Faculty Club building be used as a centre for international studies (the Liu Centre), consisting of 31 offices, meeting and seminar space. The Erickson wing will be available for catered functions such as receptions.
The main floor of the building be used to house a university gathering place, consisting of a dining room, kitchen, lounge and bar facilities, as well as a lobby/reception area and possibly reading or conference rooms. These facilities would be available to everyone, including the general public.
In addition, the third floor has the potential to provide space for a university gathering place and additional meeting and social areas. In order for the facility to be financially viable, one half of the third floor must generate rental revenue. Space allocations between the second and third floors of the building are flexible, and the committee is investigating different design options.
All meeting rooms, conference, and social space would be available for rental by any member of the university community or the public.
A new residential complex would be built to the southwest of the former Faculty Club building, and would provide approximately 110 rooms and suites to be rented to university visitors and Liu Centre delegates. The development of this residence would allow the present Gage Court rooms to be redesigned as additional student housing. Housing and Conferences Dept. staff would also be relocated to this new building. The committee does not support a commercial hotel at this location.
"The Advisory Committee on the Faculty Club is optimistic that the synergies created by this joint project will provide advantages for the entire university community," Rice said.
"The committee believes that a social gathering place is important to this community and recognizes that in times of fiscal restraint and cutbacks compromises need to be made. The majority of the committee supports incorporating the gathering place with an international study centre and a residential complex and believes a partnership would serve the best interests of the university and the surrounding community."
Comments and questions on the committee's report are welcome. If you would like further information, please contact Jacqueline Rice, Chair, Advisory Committee on the Faculty Club, 822-4800 or Lyn Manning at 822-2455, e-mail email@example.com.