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Queen’s defers John Deutsch University Centre project to May 2022

  • The John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) has served as a central student hub on campus for more than 70 years and has been integral to the student experience at Queen’s.
    The John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) has served as a central student hub on campus for more than 70 years and has been integral to the student experience at Queen’s.
  • The redevelopment plan, designed by architects from HDR + MJMA, includes a refreshed look for the facility, the addition of new study and social areas for undergraduate and graduate students, rooms for campus clubs and student services, and accessible entrances and amenities. (HDR + MJMA)
    The redevelopment plan, designed by architects from HDR + MJMA, includes a refreshed look, the addition of new study and social areas for undergraduate and graduate students, rooms for campus clubs and student services, and accessible entrances and amenities. (HDR + MJMA)

Queen’s University will defer the start of the planned renovation of its student life centre, the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), by one year, to May 2022. The planned increase to the current undergraduate student fee that is being collected to help pay for the project will also be deferred until September 2022. The deferrals were recently confirmed by the University, and have the support of the student governments  the Alma Mater Society (AMS), and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS).

Design plans are already complete and ready to go to tender in early 2022, should the project have all the required funding in place. The university’s Office of Advancement is working to identify potential outreach opportunities for interested alumni, donors, and potential donors this year, while adjusting to the fluid nature of the ongoing pandemic response.

“This is a really exciting project that will modernize the facility to create a fully accessible, sustainable, and inclusive location for students to learn, socialize, and study,” said Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “We’re excited to work with the current and incoming AMS and SGPS executives to continue to move the project forward, but we also have to respond to some of the challenges introduced by the current pandemic, and the impacts that has on campus and on issues like funding, and pressures on labour and supply chains. For these reasons, we felt it prudent to give ourselves a bit more time to ensure we’re ready to proceed.”

Students will contribute the majority of the funding for the $62.3 million renovation project, with $50.5 million through levies over 25 years, something students agreed to through graduate and undergraduate referendums held in February 2018 and January 2019, respectively. Under the project funding agreement students began contributing to the project in September 2020.

The university will support the project with a contribution of $11.8 million. This includes $1.8 million from the university’s operating funds, and securing $10 million in donor funds, which remains one of the conditions set by the Board of Trustees when they gave their conditional approval to proceed in March 2019. Queen’s will also provide the project financing of approximately $30 million.

“Many students were concerned about an increase in fees being introduced in such a period of uncertainty,” said Jared den Otter, President of the AMS. “Deferring the introduction of additional fees until September 2022, and reducing overall risks to the project, is welcome news.”

Den Otter adds he is hopeful the extension will help mitigate project risks and allow the award-winning design to be delivered as envisioned.