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Sitting down to business: Business faculty to finally get new lounge

Business students, your long wait without a suitable lounge may soon be over. After years of deliberation, construction starts next summer on a lounge for the faculty of business administration.

Lizabeth Lemon-Mitchell, director of communications and operations for the faculty of business administration, said that the delay was not caused by financial issues but by a debate over the space required for the lounge.

“It actually took quite a while to determine, on the university’s side, what [the students] wanted to use the space for, then to try and carve space out,” she said.

Funding for the lounge is coming in part from a $100 fee levied on business students, which had been in place since 2011. According to Lemon-Mitchell, the funds are in place and continue to accumulate. But administrative snags and differing agendas slowed down the process.

“It entails a lot of renovations — taking down walls, relocating offices — so it’s a complex and costly job,” she said.

“And it also involved both the Business Administration Undergrad Society (BAUS) and the Master of Business Administration Society — it would entail changes to their space. So we went back and forth between the two and of course it takes time.”

Alysha-Rae Weekes, president of the BAUS, reiterated the need for a new student space for business students.

“It’d definitely be nice to get a lounge like every other faculty,” she said.

“If business students want to meet with each other, they have to go to the SUB or the library. We’ve been inviting them here to the BAUS office, but there’s not a lot of space. The administration has been co-operative, but they’ve told us it’s in the hands of the higher-ups.”

After a proposal in 2012 from students to reclassify a classroom to lounge space was rejected, the administration began to look at space across existing rooms. The new lounge will tentatively occupy parts of the Ross Darling Computer Lab, the MBA lounge and office space belonging to both the faculties of arts and business administration respectively.

“We’ll be repurposing a portion of that area, not the entire space,” Lemon-Mitchell explained. “If you look at a floor plan, there’s a big space there, but it’s all allocated to different labs and study spaces.”

While Lemon-Mitchell said she can understand business students’ frustration at the long wait, especially those who paid the fee and have since graduated, she said that structural limitations were the biggest causes of delay.

“Unfortunately, we don’t have a new building,” she said. “We’re in this complex and it’s a question of looking for adequate space and a compromise. When you give space away you have to deal with other issues.”

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