Same old story for Old Main’s third storey

Renovation delays continue, but TRU hopes to have the law department moved into Old Main in November

Justine Cleghorn, Contributor Ω

TRU law students are still waiting for the Old Main renovations to be complete so they can move into their new home.

This isn't the first time Old Main construction delays have plagued the third-storey project. Sean Brady/The Omega

This isn’t the first time Old Main construction delays have plagued the third-storey project. Sean Brady/The Omega

A renovated third floor of Old Main was initially scheduled to open the first day of the fall 2013 semester, but the repairs weren’t completed on time and law students remain in the Brown House of Learning (HOL).

Law students were initially disappointed in the delayed opening of Old Main, but it isn’t a big deal to most students right now, according to Patrick McIlhone, the president of the TRU Society of Law Students.

“Nobody talks about the new building because [being in HOL is] just what we’re used to,” he said. “I mean, I think it’s going to be so good, but honestly it’s just the same as last year. We feel we’re taking space away from other programs.”

Second-year law student Blake Tancock agrees. He said he feels like he’s in the way in HOL.

“It’s not only about us getting a spot, it’s also about us getting the hell out of the way too,” Tancock said.

“If you look around, most tables are always law kids. You see people walking that are definitely undergrads, and you can just tell they have nowhere to go, like at all.

“I’d imagine it’s more frustrating for other people than us.”

With 100 new students joining the program this year, TRU’s law school has grown to over 250 students, according to Christopher Seguin, VP advancement at TRU.

Interim dean of law Anne Pappas said that the department explored moving classes outside HOL to accommodate the influx of new students, but decided to stay because everyone was already familiar with the building.

“We’ve had the infrastructure in the House of Learning for two years. It makes more sense to keep it here than to move it off campus,” Pappas said.

“Is it comfortable? No not really,” she said, adding “I mean, if you walk down the faculty halls, you’ll see three and four people sharing an office.

“Can we all survive for a little bit? Yes I think so, as long as it’s just a little bit.”

Sharing the space is manageable right now, but McIlhone thinks that, come November, HOL won’t have enough space to house students studying for finals.

TRU initially wanted to open up parts of the renovated Old Main but was impeded by the city from doing so.

“We had plans to open up sections of the building without opening the entire venue, but we learned through our application process that this wasn’t possible,” Seguin said.

The building is now projected to open in November.

McIlhone isn’t getting his hopes up for an Old Main space in November.

“It’s like construction for anything,” McIlhone said. “You always have to expect it’s going to be at least twice as long as they tell you.”

“You can’t get up in arms about with something you can’t change,” he added.

A new TRU policy requires media to first contact the university to request permission to speak with Stantec, the contractor for the Old Main project.

It’s not clear when the new policy was implemented or what exactly it states. The Omega encountered the change when it made a request for comment directly to Stantec and was referred back to the university to first ask for permission.

Prior requests made to Stantec near the beginning of August were not met with restraint.

“It’s not a new agreement,” said Diana Skoglund, media and communications supervisor at TRU.

“Now it just works better if [Stantec] just informs us with what’s going up and then we tell you, instead of us reading about it in The Omega and going ‘Oh we didn’t know that,’” Skogland said.

The Omega was not granted permission by TRU to speak with Stantec in regards to the timeline of the project.