By Melita Kuburas
Unless a big mess is left behind, students may have access to a section of Oakham House early next month as construction workers pull out of the areas that are not being remodeled.
Rob Emerson, RyeSAC general manager, says Oct. 29 is when RyeSAC is scheduled to take back the Thomas Lounge, the Oakham Lounge and two A/B rooms – areas that are not directly connected to the Student Campus Centre being built next door.
But RyeSAC will wait to see if an extensive cleanup will be necessary before it opens the area to students and allow groups to start booking rooms. The exact date of when the rooms will be available depends on how long the inspection and cleaning processes take.
“Before we even send people in to clean, we have to make sure they’re not in harm’s way,” says Dale McNichol, Oakham House manager. The historic parts of Oakham have been used partly as a construction office and partly for storage, says Ron Stagg, chair of the Palin Foundation, a management team that operates Oakham House.
“We have to do a safety inspection before we take over,” he says. This year, an unavailable Oakham House forced student groups to use the already-limited classroom space around campus.Some have even been sent off campus-the Muslim Students Association has been holding their Friday prayers at Bond Place Hotel at the corner of Dundas and Bond streets.
“A lot of the rooms available weren’t what they were looking for,” says Cristina Ribeiro, RyeSAC vice-president student life and events, about the improvised space for student groups. “You can’t have a dance class if there are lots of desks and chairs.”