Eight university staff but no students attended the Master Plan meeting in the Tupper Building to discuss the future of the Dalhousie campus.

Eight university staff but no students attended the Master Plan meeting in the Tupper Building to discuss the future of the Dalhousie campus.

Better campus design, more services requested at Dal planning meeting

Campus community voices opinions on new university master plan

Dalhousie needs to become more community-oriented.

This was a common theme for the final gathering of this week’s master campus plan meetings in the Lord Dalhousie Room.

Fourteen people attended Wednesday's meeting. They focused on bridging gaps between students, professors and the public.

The consultation firm IBI Group is managing the master plan process. The firm's director, Larry Sherman, led Wednesday's session.

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Larry Sherman, project manager for the master plan, explains how campuses are changing to a group of people in the Lord Dalhousie Room.

“We’re getting a lot of feedback,” says Sherman. “Especially online and that’s a great thing.”

Suggestions included forming a common learning space where students won’t have to make a great effort to search for their prof’s offices like they do now in the Killam Library.

“The McCain Building is a step in the right direction,” said one student, “but it needs to be even easier. Just a common space with offices on the outside and computers and everything else you could need in the middle.”

Those attending the meeting agreed that this would not only make more sense architecturally, but it could also serve to improve relationships between profs and students and create a bridge in generations.

“We’re looking at not just building more residences,” says Sherman, “but also including all the other things that enhance the life on campus. So you can have a beer, you can exercise and you can find something to eat at 3 a.m.”

'Sherman wants member of the community to know that Dal is more than just buildings. A good first step, he says, would be for them to learn what campus expansion can offer them. He says that donations, especially from the private sector are dependent on this.

“People need to understand that they will not just be donating to a building, but to a university campus. That is what it’s going to take to make this truly a university city.”

Tuesday's meeting in the Tupper Medical Building had eight attendees, all of whom were faculty.

Major issues included parking and the lack of daycare on the penninsula. Others brought up issues such as campus aesthetics.

"We haven't had a consistent look to the campus." John Sherwood, executive director at Dal's computing service. "It's one thing that's always bothered me."

Some faculty brought up potential problems with the campus. Janice Graham of Dal's bioethics department said she was concerned the new Brain Repair Centre being built next to Tupper wouldn't be used as an academic space.

"It didn't sound like it would be a centre for teachers and researchers," said Graham. "I've also been told the space is for bringing commercialization research."

Rose Race, administrator for the school of human communication disorders, said some of her students were concerned that the university's plan to sell Fenwick apartments wouldn't allow enough living space for students.

Sherman said it's too late for these issues to be part of the master plan.

Sherman says he hopes to have some proposals by next fall.

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