MOU terms reached by SFSS and SFU

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By Graham Cook

Document lays out how Build SFU project will move forward

 

The Simon Fraser Student Society and Simon Fraser University have released a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the construction of a Student Union Building (SUB) and stadium, known as the Build SFU Project, at the Burnaby campus. It formally sets out the conversations and mutual understanding between the two groups about the project and how it will move forward.

One provision that it lays out is the two possible locations for the 100,000 to 120,000 gross square foot SUB. The first potential locale is a repurposed Lorne Davies Complex, including the areas that currently contain the east gymnasium, pool, recreation offices, and coaching offices. Option two involves both groups finding another space to construct a SUB. In both cases, the university will own the land and lease the space to the SFSS for a nominal fee, and may “retain an amount of space in the [building],” for things such as athletic and recreation administration. This lease is outlined as being long-term in nature, possibly lasting up to 99 years.

Under the “financial arrangements” section of the document is the agreement that the Build SFU Project will be entirely financed by the student society.  It states, “SFU will provide assistance to the SFSS in securing financing, where possible . . . SFU will not incur any debt or financial liability . . . to construct the stadium or the new SUB.”

In an email to The Peak, SFU’s associate VP students, Tim Rahilly, said, “The University is pleased that we have been able to negotiate an MOU with the SFSS to proceed with the project.  The process has been highly collaborative and . . . I think the University is as excited as the students about the next steps.”

In a separate email, SFSS University Relations Officer Jeff McCann mirrored Rahilly’s feelings, stating, “I’m excited about the progress we have made to date with the Build SFU project. We are on an aggressive timeline and look forward to getting as many students involved in the process as possible.” McCann went on to write that the SFSS “will be appointing members to the . . . Build SFU committee in the coming week,” and that he encouraged interested candidates to contact him. According to McCann, the next step is to fill the two positions and start broadly consulting students.

McCann added that he was “impressed with SFU in their commitment to this process and the undergraduate students . . . Tim Rahilly has been instrumental in his role as the prime university contact.” He concluded by sharing his hopes that “this agreement will serve as the road-map for future boards to follow to create the best student space possible.”

The Student Union Building and Terry Fox field stadium project has an approximate cost of $65 million, with $5 million going to the stadium and $60 million going to the SUB.  Last March the undergraduate students of SFU approved a referendum to implement a student levy to fund Build SFU. The levy will begin at $10 a semester and increase by $10 annually until it reaches $90 a semester.