Operation Oakham

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By Liz Nyburg

 

Two committees have $1.5 million saved for a campus centre, but Oakham House hasn’t seen a penny.

Although RyeSAC-operated Oakham has been promoted as the new campus centre since last summer, none of the fund has been allotted for the centre.

The RyeSAC campus centre project and the Ryerson Centre group have each saved about $700,000. Since 1987, RyeSAC has been collecting $6 a year from each student for a student centre.

The Ryerson Centre, a campus body which directs the most of its funds towards a new centre, has been investing for over 30 years. The goal was to save $12 million for a complex to be built west of and including Oakham House.

Since the July 1 RyeSAC Oakham takeover, RyeSAC Manager John Fabrizio said roughly half the council’s $40,000 operating budget has been spent on improving Oakham — the $700,000 capital fund is untouched. A motion would need to pass at an annual general meeting to release any money from the fund. And RyeSAC has yet to ask for the money.

If he can get funds, RyeSAC President-elect Angelo DeLuca sees retail space, meeting rooms and a party hall for Oakham.

RyeSAC started the year keen, pushing Oakham House as the new campus centre. It was promoted on the cover of their student handbook as the new campus centre.

But some say the keenness has worn off.

Sanjay Dhebar, RyeSAC campus centre commissioner, says he hasn’t received proper support from the board.

“They haven’t made Oakham House a priority,” he says. “I think the president, after the summer, lost focus on Oakham House and focused too much on off-campus activities.”

He organized a survey to get feedback on Oakham House. Dhebar received about 350 responses and wants to give Oakham’s new manager time to make recommendations.

New manager Dale McNichol says since he started in January, he’s used $5,000 for renovations. He can’t do much more until he finishes next year’s budget due the end of March. He will offer tentative proposals in April. However, if RyeSAC uses some of the funds McNichol wants to improve access by installing an elevator and an outside ramp.

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