Big bucks spent on Oakham

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By Sean Fitz-Gerald

After waiting a decade, students finally have something that resembles a student centre.

Oakham House is now fully accessible reorganized, renovated and painted pretty.

At RyeSAC’s Annual General Meeting last April, it was announced that up to $310,000 from the capital acquisitions fund would to to rebuild Oakham House.

This “rainy day” fund is RyeSAC’s way of hoarding student fees until a good use for the cash can be found.

Construction started during the last week in June and is expected to be finished before the end of September.

Jim MacDonald, project manager, worked with Oakham’s managing director, Dale McNichol, to coordinate tradesmen essential to the renovation of such an old building.

At the Sept. 4 “grand opening” of Ran in the Rye, v.p. administration David Steele said, “It’s phenomenal that it got done on time. He (McNichol) is pushy, and that’s why.”

Although all the invoices and bills have not come in, McNichol said the last time he tallied the costs, the project was under budget.

Part of the original management takeover agreement between RyeSAC and The Palin Foundation was to increase access and provide better services. The addition of an elevator, widened hallways and adding front and rear access ramps fulfilled part of that mandate.

Oakham House Societies were also renovated this summer. The program coordinator for societies, held by Cara-Scot McCron for the last 6 years, has been eliminated. The decision to pack McCron off with a non-disclosure agreement shortly after her return from maternity leave came, according to McNichol, because of a “duplication of services” by Leatrice Spevack, campus groups administrator.

In return, societies have gained more autonomy in how they operate and have a newly renovated meeting room, office and separate storage space dedicated to their use.

Other Oakham improvements include changing the layout of the Thomas Lounge, new carpeting, and the Ram in the Rye pub previously known as the Cavern.

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