St. Denis Centre to get a facelift

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins December 2, 2016 11:57
An artist rendition of the design concept for the $73 million renovations to the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre (Photo courtesy of

An artist rendition of the design concept for the $73 million renovation to the University of Windsor’s St. Denis Centre (Photo courtesy of

By Ryan Blevins

After the final vote was tallied, the University of Windsor’s plan to renovate the St. Denis Centre is a go.

The Graduate Student Society approved the university’s renovation plan during a referendum Nov. 25. The proposed renovations would total $73 million in expenses in an effort to renovate and expand the university’s indoor athletic facility known as the St. Denis Centre.

The plan originated in 2015. Originally approved by the undergraduate and part-time student groups last year, the project was squashed when the Graduate Student Society voted against the proposal by a tally of 302 to 254.

A vote was called again for this year and was voted yes by 457 of the 762 people who cast a ballot. Only 24 per cent of eligible voters turned out to cast their ballot.

Amin Safaei is the president of the Graduate Student Society at the University of Windsor and says he feels there is need for a new facility.

“I believe it has long term benefits for all the students,” said Safaei.

With the $73 million renovation students will get a new triple gym, a new eight-lane 25-metre pool, 16,000 square feet of additional training space and a new outdoor turf field. Outdoor cricket and beach volleyball facilities have also been discussed.

Dr. Michael Khan is the Dean of Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor and says he is excited about the results.

“Fantastic job,” said Khan. “They voted in favour of enhancing the student experience and reputation of the university.”

The money to make this project happen will not come entirely from the University of Windsor directly. The current plan increases student tuition to help with the cost. Beginning in 2019, the university will implement a new $125 fee to help offset the cost. The fee will increase for the first seven years to a cap of $175. The university will combine that with the current $185 sports and recreational fee in order to take 20 per cent of the project’s capital costs and 100 per cent of the annual operating costs annually.

There are still a few steps to complete the process. According to Dr. Khan, the building still needs the board of governors’ approval.

A few days after the vote was passed many members of the Graduate Student Society called for a re-vote. According to some students, an insufficient amount of time was given to the students in advance to prepare for the vote.

Mohammad Akbar is a University of Windsor alumnus and said he does not believe the vote was valid.

“The failure to provide proper notice for the referendum invalidates the entire process,” said Akbar in a press release. “A re-vote must immediately be called.”

The University of Windsor Graduate Student Society constitution calls for a two-week notice to be given before a referendum. In this instance, a notice about the referendum was posted on the GSS website on November 9, the same day as the campaign began. For the referendum to be considered valid under the GSS constitution a notice would have needed to be issued no later than October 26.

Nothing has currently come of the student complaints and there is no word if any action will take place in the future.  

Ryan Blevins
By Ryan Blevins December 2, 2016 11:57

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