Board raises concern over design of new stadium
Simon Fraser University brought its proposed construction plan for a new stadium to the SFSS Board of Directors meeting on September 29.
“This is a legacy project,” Theresa Hanson, director of athletics and recreation told the board. “It is a game-changer for the student experience.”
The project, slated to be completed in March 2020, is the first stadium to be built by the university since it was founded 52 years ago. The total cost is projected to be $14.145 million and the SFSS will contribute $10 million dollars in student fees to the stadium while the rest will be paid for by SFU.
“We are on budget,” added Ian Abercrombie, the director of campus planning and development.
The university is heading the project and looking to move forward with the construction with the approval of the student society.
Erwin Kwok, vice-president of university relations, questioned the SFU representatives about why the roof design did not cover all of the seats. The agreement between the student society and the university required that the design include a “full roof.”
The stadium’s proposed roof design will only cover about 60% of the seats.
Hanson responded by explaining that the original design covered all of the seats, however they had to re-evaluate their design in light of existing stadium models.
“The addition of the Fitness Centre and the West Gym brought challenges in doing a full roof, so we couldn’t do a full roof over the top of all of that,” she said.
In addition, Michael Strang, director of university projects, noted that the agreement does not require the university to cover all of the seats, but it does require a full roof.
“We feel like this is a full roof to the extent that [Hanson] said — it fits the design,” he added.
Kwok also inquired about the accessibility of the stadium. “Based on the design, it seems like the audience will have to walk down a flight of stairs to go to the washroom. How would that be accessible for the people that need it to be accessible the most?” he asked.
Architect Max Richter explained, “For people who aren’t able to access the [washroom below the stands], there are two universal washrooms in the Press Box that are accessed off of the terrace.”
Prab Bassi, vice-president of external relations, asked why the plans do not reflect the fact that undergraduate students are the main funders of the project. “When I look at these boards, I don’t see that [fact] being reflected at all,” emphasized Bassi.
Strang responded by saying that “we would absolutely love to recognize the important contribution [of the undergraduate students]. We just have to talk about how that happens, I mean, it wasn’t part of the contribution agreement.”
SFSS does not want to pursue the Clan name change
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article erroneously stated that SFSS vice-president of external relations Prab Bassi felt it was “appropriate” for the student society to take a stance on the issue. Instead, Bassi stated that it was an “inappropriate” move for the student society. We regret the error.
A petition to change the name of the university sports team the Clan, started by SFU philosophy professor Holly Andersen, was a topic of discussion for the SFSS Board of Directors.
The petition, which has gathered over 400 signatures, is addressed to the student society among other organizations at the university and calls for a new sports team name because the word ‘Clan’ may be interpreted as a reference to the white-supremacist Ku Klux Klan.
“The hate rallies of Neo-Nazis and Klansmen show that there is only one meaning for the name ‘Klan’ in the US. It sounds the same spelled with a C or a K. Please take this chance to act with respect and sportsmanship to change our team name to something SFU can be proud of,” the petition reads.
The SFSS arts and social sciences representative Jackson Freedman said that he did not feel that the board should participate in the controversy.
“I think it opens [us up] to more negative possibilities,” he said. “My perspective would be [to] support the initiative just not publicly.”
Bassi voiced a similar sentiment. “I think it is kind of inappropriate for the student society to take a stance on this because some students may support this and some students [might] not,” said Bassi.
Kwok recommended that the board address the issue at a later time.
“I don’t think it’s right for us, [the] Simon Fraser Student Society, to take a stance. Let’s step back — I would recommend — until it’s necessary for us to step in,” ended Kwok.