As Algoma University continues with its goal of reaching an enrolment figure of 3,000 students, the postsecondary institution held a town hall early Thursday evening inviting the general public to drop by and provide suggestions as to how its main Sault Ste. Marie campus should look over the next 10 years.
Visitors were encouraged to look at a board showing an aerial view of the existing campus, place a dot on an area(s) of the campus which interested them, leave a post it note with their comments and make their mark by grabbing some paper and a pen and sketch their ideas for the campus.
“This town hall is part of a process we started in April of this year. We started collecting information by engaging with internal users (students, staff and faculty), external users such as potential private sector partners, and the wider community (the general public),” said architect Jorge Garcia of Toronto-based IBI Group, speaking to SooToday.
Garcia will be working with Sault architect David Ellis of David Ellis Architect Inc., transforming the appearance of the campus over the next decade as Algoma develops its Sault Ste. Marie Campus Master Plan.
“This is the opportunity for people such as neighbours to come and give their ideas. We’d like to get everyone’s opinion on what they feel the future should be, to synthesize this and it becomes the master plan. It’s not a rigid plan yet,” Ellis said.
“One thing we can tell you is that we have been seeing a call for ‘intensification’ of the existing campus as opposed to sprawling the campus, more user friendly and pedestrian friendly. International students like to walk more,” Garcia said.
“We recognize we have a rather harsh winter environment, and for some of the international students walking from the main building to the biology lab it can be a bit daunting, so by filling in the gaps between the buildings it can become a more walkable space,” Ellis said.
Renderings on display at Thursday’s town hall showed outdoor learning, a more comfortable library and cafeteria and studio space as ideas which could become realities over the next five to 10 years.
“My daughter’s going to be starting here in September, so I’m excited,” Ellis chuckled.
Garcia said he expects another town hall will be held in September, with the master plan ready by October.