By Nicole Murphy
NAIT’s Students Association’s new office space is located in the O wing in between the South and North Lobby. The modernized space upgrade is 2.5 times bigger than the old space.
Leeanne Mills, NAITSA Administration Director and Project Manager during the renovation explains that although the finished product is coming in a time of budget cuts, this process has been years in the making.
NAITSA has been planning an expansion and allocating a percentage of fees to a building fund since at least the 90s. In 2016 a referendum for NAIT students was held to see if NAITSA would make a donation to NAIT with a new expanded space as part of the agreement and 91 per cent voted in agreement.
“We made a commitment to a $5 million donation over six years. We did get a commitment from NAIT for one million back to go into the new space, so inessence we were really giving them four, and of the four, $3 million dollars of that is 100 per cent committed to student spaces on campus,” said Mills.
Student fees did not go up with this donation because NAITSA already had the funds in reserve.
The new space was needed to better serve the student population with factors in mind such as:
● Expansion: The old space didn’t have student work spaces which now there are many, with space for NAITSA’s team to grow as well.
● Centralization: The new offices are more central on campus and visible to students.
● Sustainability: Quality design and materials were used to ensure the space remains in good condition for the next decade or so.
● Modernization: “It incorporates and mimics outdoor elements and nature, which is meant to enhance emotional well-being for the staff and students,” said Mills.
Overall the new space has been well received.
“It feels outdoorsy, it feels warm, it is bright, it is welcoming, we have people that come in and say they just want to hangout in the lobby space, because they are just so comfortable coming in, and that was one of the goals,” said Mills.
A Student Enhancement Fund was created using a large portion of the donated money, and a committee of four representative from NAIT and four from NAITSA will be responsible for making decisions as to how this fund will best improve student spaces on campus.