Health of the province
Leslie and Irene Dubé
photo by David Stobbe
We also wanted to express the idea of the health sciences as an inter-professional approach and an inter-professional model, and that meant bringing more of the health sciences together in closer proximity to one another. And that is of course, what we call the E Wing, that magnificent building at the corner of College and Wiggins. - Peter MacKinnon
It is nearly impossible not to notice the E Wing addition of the Health Sciences project while driving down College Drive in Saskatoon. With its gothic architecture featuring greystone and curved glass, it is the most visible construction project on campus.
It is also one of the largest building projects in U of S history, and wouldn’t be possible without the support of philanthropists Leslie and Irene Dubé who contributed $10 million to the project in the fall of 2011. The multi-phased project will bring students, faculty, staff and researchers from all health science disciplines—dentistry, kinesiology, medicine, nursing, nutrition, pharmacy, physical therapy, public health and veterinary medicine—together in a modern collaborative facility for learning, teaching and research.
“This donation to the University of Saskatchewan brings together our desires to share our wealth in both education and health,” said Leslie. “We are building one of the finest facilities in the country and lives will be changed in Saskatchewan and beyond because of the way future generations of health-care professionals will learn together within this facility. We hope that many others will be inspired to support this project.”
In recognition of their support, the new state-of-the-art library and 500-seat lecture theatre in the Health Sciences building will be named the Leslie and Irene Dubé Health Sciences Library and the Leslie and Irene Dubé Theatre.
The renovations in Marquis Hall, the food services in Marquis Hall, boy, what an improvement! And I think we are hearing that from our students. The ones that I talked to say that they are enormously pleased with what we have been able to achieve over there. - Peter MacKinnon
Marquis Hall underwent a Restaurant Makeover-type facelift over the past two summers and the newly renovated culinary centre was unveiled in December. Split into two phases, the end result of the $6.8-million renovation is an open concept space that offers an eclectic and nutritious menu to around 1,000 customers per meal.
Between the changes to the space as well as changing the menu from cafeteria to cuisine, Executive Chef James McFarland said he knows the U of S is on the right track. “One thing we have figured out is that we can have a large influence on every day campus life by engaging students and faculty through food and a positive dining experience. We look forward to continuing to elevate that experience.”
Aboriginal student centre
The Gordon Oakes-R ed Bear Student Centre is for students of the University of Saskatchewan and should be a place of cultural respect for Aboriginal peoples and their history. But it is also a place to bring people together and to symbolize the importance of that part of our history which, in fairness, I think we should acknowledge has not always been as fully recognized as it should have been. We know too that we want Aboriginal students to view the University of Saskatchewan as their university. - Peter MacKinnon
On October 4, after more than a dozen years of planning, it was announced that the U of S will proceed with construction of the Gordon Oakes-Red Bear Student Centre—to be built in Wiggins Court between the Arts Tower and the Murray Library.
The centre will create a hub for Aboriginal student services on campus as well as space for teaching, learning and ceremony. Renderings of the centre—designed by Douglas Cardinal Architect Inc—were unveiled at the special announcement that was attended by members of the Gordon Oakes family, including his daughter Irene who said the centre speaks to her father’s vision of two horses—one representing Aboriginal people, the other non-Aboriginal—working together as a team.
Student housing opens
Russell and Katherine Morrison
photo by David Stobbe
College Quarter undergrad residence
Graduate House concept rendering
The new residence is tremendously important. The university did not have enough residence spaces. We needed more, so an opportunity over three years to double the university’s residence capacity was a cherished part of the building project and has now advanced. – Peter MacKinnon
Student housing got a big boost at the U of S this past fall with the opening of the College Quarter undergraduate residence, and a $6.5-million donation from Russell Morrison (BA’44) and his wife, Katherine, toward the construction of a new graduate residence, “Graduate House.”
“We wanted to make a productive contribution and felt that this would be the most valuable donation we could make to the U of S,” said Russell. “A place for graduate students to live together as a community is of utmost importance.”
The undergraduate residence welcomed 360 students this past fall, of a total 800 students when phase one and two are both complete in fall 2012. The new graduate residence—located northeast of the RJD Williams Building—will house 262 students and is scheduled for completion in early 2013.
The U of S will need to decrease its expenses over the next four years in the face of budget pressures that include lower-than-requested provincial funding, salary and benefit costs rising faster than revenue increases, solvency and going concern pension issues, and the pressing need for capital renewal to support teaching, research and innovation.
At a public town hall meeting April 3, Provost and Vice-President Academic Brett Fairbairn (BA’81) and Vice-President Finance and Resources Richard Florizone (BE’90, MSc’92), outlined how the 2.1 per cent increase in the institution’s operating grant for 2012-13, announced in the March 21 provincial budget, affects financial projections for the future. The university had requested a 5.8 per cent grant increase.
“Prior to knowing what our provincial grant would be, we projected a shortfall of $10 million over the next planning cycle, which is 2012-2016,” said Fairbairn. “Now that we know what the grant is, our projected gap is more likely $12-15 million in 2012-13, and $20-40 million per year until 2016.
“Our challenge will be to remain focused on our institutional priorities as we work to close the gap between revenue and expenses. That said, our revenue sources are limited and our actions will centre primarily on reducing expenses. We need to think about what we will start doing, and what we will stop doing, but we must ensure that our solutions are sustainable in the long term.” The provost pointed out that declining provincial funding is not unique to Saskatchewan, and that post-secondary institutions across the country are grappling with budget pressures similar to those being experienced by the U of S.
Fairbairn explained that budget decisions will be guided by the priorities outlined in the university’s recently approved third integrated plan, the academic mission of the institution and principles that include transparency, effective use of data and evidence, and decision-making at appropriate levels within the organization.
For more information or to submit ideas, questions or comments, visit www.usask.ca/finances.
Town hall meeting
A lot happens at the University of Saskatchewan in between issues of the Green and White. Here is some of the news as reported by On Campus News, the university’s bi-weekly newspaper. For more stories, photos and comments, visit www.news.usask.ca.