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University conditionally approves JDUC redevelopment project

Student-led effort to improve John Deutsch University Centre gains Board of Trustees support.

Queen's University's John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC)
The proposed project would modernize the John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC), with modernized spaces for undergraduate and graduate students.

Queen’s students are making headway in their pursuit of a revitalized John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC) – a facility that has been central to student life on campus for over 70 years.

On March 1, the Queen’s University Board of Trustees conditionally agreed to support the proposed redevelopment project that would serve to modernize the facility, creating a fully accessible, sustainable, and inclusive location for students to learn, socialize, and study. Recent student referendums affirmed their funding commitment to the project.

“The Board’s decision to support the JDUC redevelopment keeps this effort on track to become an important and exciting project for the university,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Provided conditions are met, the student community will gain a vibrant new facility to call home, that will further strengthen the student learning experience at Queen’s.”

Under the plan, the Alma Mater Society (AMS) and Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) will contribute $50.5 million over 25 years, through a student fee levy. These contributions to the project were confirmed during graduate and undergraduate referendums in February 2018 and January 2019.

In turn, the university will support with a contribution of $11.8 million. This includes $1.8 million from the university’s operating funds, and $10 million in donor funds that are expected to be in place by Fall 2020 to continue advancing the project. Queen’s will also provide the project financing.

“While the fundraising campaign has just begun, the vision for the JDUC renovations will be exciting to alumni who know the building and share the enthusiasm of current students for its possibilities,” says Karen Bertrand, Vice-Principal (Advancement).

The redevelopment could save significant costs too, as the current facility will require an estimated $6 million in deferred maintenance and $8 million in system replacement over the next five to 10 years.

“It’s been a pleasure working with students to bring this project forward,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “This is a project that will have a lasting impact on campus life for future students, and our current students are to be commended for their leadership that has culminated in the Board’s conditional approval. I look forward to working with student leadership and all stakeholders to advance this project.”

In preliminary concept work with architects, students included in their proposal a vision for a facility with additional study and social areas for undergraduate students, rooms for campus clubs to form and flourish, and expanded mental health services among other services. The proposed plans were assembled after a year-long period of student consultation, and align with the university’s Campus Master Plan.

“We are excited that students and university stakeholders have come together to recognize the importance of the JDUC project,” says AMS President, Miguel Martinez. “As we take the next steps toward a new JDUC, we will continue to engage the Queen’s community so its members can inform the important decisions that lie ahead, and so we can best improve the Queen’s experience through this project.”

Plans also feature new and enhanced spaces for graduate students to socialize, study, host professional development programs, and more.

“The support from Queen’s and the approval by the Board of Trustees once again signals that Queen’s is actively engaged in strengthening the graduate community,” says Tyler Morrison, SGPS President.

For more about the AMS' proposed plan for the JDUC revitalization project, visit myJDUC.com.