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Construction or Inconvenience?

by Shelby Johnston

After undergoing the tedious process of referendums, the construction for the new Lancer Sport and Recreation Centre (LSRC) has finally begun. Sadly, I won’t be around to enjoy the $73M investment that will likely be completed in three to four years. I will, however, be around for the construction.

It sure seems like us current students are sacrificing a lot for future students to receive a majority of the benefits. Someone has to pay the price though. This is my fifth year on campus and I’ll acknowledge that the deteriorating St. Denis Centre has definitely built up some “character” (yeah, I think that’s the nice way to put it) throughout its 37 years of operation.

From the leaking roof during the Track and Field USports Championships, to the inability to host multiple sporting events, intramurals or recreation activities at once. Alumni and current Lancers can all agree, we’re past due for an upgrade. Although in order to achieve the astonishing facility, the ongoing renovations are leaving the current students on campus frustrated from the disruption.

Various concrete pipelines, heavy machinery and remaining debris has left the St Denis Centre’s main parking lot completely inaccessible. Not only does this construction limit the space for staff and student parking, this also presents difficulties to visiting varsity teams when dropping off players and equipment. Not to mention, the limited access from College Avenue to California Avenue during its temporary closing and varsity practices being relocated to other facilities in the evening. For non-varsity students, the Fieldhouse is completely closed during business hours, Monday through Friday, leaving limited time for recreation activities.

Remember, this is just the early stage of the construction process.

Mike Havey, the University of Windsor Athletic Director, uses the analogy of doing a home renovation while still living in the house. Havey explains that when it comes to an evasive project like this, the annoyance is par for the course.

“The frustration from displacement of activities is understandable,” he says.

Havey hopes relocating varsity practices to other facilities will free up time in the evenings for additional recreational activities for students.

Although Havey states that, “People need to understand that this is a project and everyone is feeling the pain to a certain degree.”

Thankfully, students won’t have to chip in until the new facility is completed. On the topic of accounts owing, current students probably fail to understand that the Forge, which opened in 2005, will not be fully paid for until 2029.

Is there anything current students get in return for their patience?

When the referendum was passed on February 2017, the students registered in the 2015-16 and 2016-17 academic years were promised a one-year free membership at the LSRC after its completion. It’s a great incentive but only Lancer alumni staying local after graduation and live relatively close to campus will get anything from that deal.

Additionally, this perquisite only applies to students involved in the referendum, and not incoming students forced to the next three to four years of constant construction.

This disturbance is and will be a pain but we all know it’s the right thing to do and worth it in the end. Future Lancers will receive a top-notch facility while we’ll just have to get used to neon orange pylons, restrictive fences and limited accessibility to parking spaces.

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