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Construction plans are on track

You won't see shovels in the ground at Loyola this summer, but that doesn't mean things aren't happening.

The architects of the winning design for the new science complex on the west-end campus, Marosi Troy/Jodoin Lamarre Pratte/Cardinal Hardy and Associates, are being asked to refine their design. The idea is to make it softer and more in keeping with the neo-Tudor style of the original buildings, without sacrificing any of its functional features.

The final drawings should be in the hands of the real estate committee of the Board of Governors by mid-July, after which they will be deposited with the City of Montreal for approval. A billboard will go up on the site at that point, starting the required 45-day public consultation period.

The master space plan for the whole university is likely to be approved by the City of Montreal in the late autumn, and another design competition launched. The plan calls for two new buildings on the downtown campus: a commerce building at Guy St. and de Maisonneuve Blvd., and an engineering/fine arts complex on Ste. Catherine between Mackay and Guy Sts.

Given adequate financing and provincial and municipal approval, the first phase of all three projects could be started at the same time. However, while construction is going on, students must be taught and employees accommodated.

Planning and executing this ambitious construction project is like a game of dominoes. For example, the $37 million promised by the Quebec government has been approved, but delivery of the money hinges on the university vacating its rented space. That can't be done until there is space to move into.

While all four Faculties are keen to see new and more appropriate facilities, the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science is probably under the most pressure because of rapidly increasing enrolment in its high-tech programs and the research projects that have been approved and funded by the Canada Foundation for Innovation.

Langley Hall has been sold, and the Centennial Building is in the process of being sold. The sale of the two facilities on Sherbrooke St. W. near the Loyola Campus should realize roughly $1 million. Langley Hall was a residence that was closed in 1995 because the maintenance and renovation that were needed would have been too costly. The Centennial Building was last used by the students' association, notably for the radio station, and has been vacant since fall 1998.

- Barbara Black

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