President to launch space planning initiatives
Memorial's rapid and continuous growth has created space and infrastructure challenges on the St. John's campus that President Gary Kachanoski says must be addressed. In fact, he plans to make this a priority for the institution.
"The St. John's campus is at capacity, in terms of space and infrastructure for academic, administrative, service delivery and research activities – we have to own this problem," he said during recent meetings of the university's Senate and the Senior Academic and Administrators Group.
He is proposing a series of initiatives to identify challenges and provide real solutions.
The president explained that the university continues to work with the provincial government to identify infrastructure priorities. But Dr. Kachanoski says that the St. John's campus space crunch must also be addressed directly by those who work on the Elizabeth Avenue campus.
"There are important and essential university services that must, by their nature, be housed physically on the campus – academics and areas like student services," he said. "Similarly, there are important and essential university services that could be just as effectively delivered from off-campus sites. What we need to do now is identify and differentiate those services and start to creatively address the space challenge."
Dr. Kachanoski says the Vice-Presidents' Council will establish a Capital Planning Committee to oversee development of space, infrastructure priorities and a plan. Advisory committees will be struck to address issues such as:
- optimization of existing space;
- utilization of available and affordable off-campus space where appropriate and effective;
- development of plan/vision for anchor facilities (e.g. Reid Theatre);
- development of Aboriginal space;
- and other space/infrastructure issues.
"At our St. John's campus classrooms, labs, offices and other space, the status quo cannot continue," said Dr. Kachanoski. "This initiative is intended to put fresh eyes on the challenges and come up with our own innovative solutions. But it is not a panacea. It is a mechanism we're adding to the toolbox to counter our space shortages."