Over the course of the next two weeks, SSMU clubs and services operating out of the 2075 Robert-Bourassa space will be vacating and relocating to 680 Sherbrooke. Clubs and services housed in 2075 Robert-Bourassa plaza include the Muslim Students’ Association, the Flat Bike Collective, McGill University Photography Student’s Society, SACOMMS, TVMcGill, McGill Tribune, Legal Information Clinic, Union for Gender Empowerment, and The Daily Publications Society. The current lease on the space is set to end January 31, 2019. These services have been at the interim space since the closure of the SSMU building in March 2018. Though the University Centre (3480 Rue McTavish) was originally set to reopen by the end of 2018, construction is still underway. In lieu of renewing the current lease contract on 2075 Robert-Bourassa for an additional three-month period, SSMU made the decision to relocate clubs and services to 680 Sherbrooke, with assurance from the Deputy Provost that SSMU Clubs and Services can use the space intermittently until the University Centre reopening. The decision will save SSMU from spending up to $160,000 of student dollars, helping to avoid deficits and prioritize other SSMU activities this semester.
Affected clubs were given notice of the move in late December, just prior to the winter break. Move dates are set between the 14th and 21st of January. Logistics of the move have been coordinated by Wallace Sealy, SSMU Building Director. Only groups currently located in 2075 Robert-Bourassa are impacted.
SSMU President Tre Mansdoerfer told the Daily in a phone conversation that “it’s hard not having a building in general, taking a decision like this helps the student groups, and is also helping to avoid deficits. This decision is being taken based on what we could afford.” He went on to address the delayed construction at the University Centre: “we were told [the construction] would take longer than January, and we needed to take a choice that would save money and ensure people have the spaces they need to operate.” The move to 680 Sherbrooke saves SSMU the $80,000 that would otherwise be allocated to paying rent on an additional three-month contract at 2075 Robert-Bourassa. The lease would have to be renewed again in April should the University Centre still be under renovations.
While the building at Robert-Bourassa required key card access hindering some groups from holding open office or drop-in hours, the 680 location may facilitate more student ownership of an interim space. “I don’t think the groups are hindered too much – it is a comparable service space. Overall, I think it is a good move,” concluded President Mansdoerfer.