Bella’s sticking to budget
Despite speculation, no funding losses on conservatory construction
Construction of the new Conservatory and The Bella concert hall is well underway and, despite speculation among students and faculty concerning budget and funding costs, the project is still going according to plan.
“There have been no funding losses,” said Duane Anderson, vice-president of administrative services at Mount Royal University. “As you can see, the project is underway right now.”
The groundbreaking ceremony for the project took place on April 26, 2012.
“We’ve definitely had some issues to ensure it was in line with budget, so that might be the source of the rumors,” Anderson added.
Funding for the project comes in the form of federal, provincial and municipal funding, as well as a $20-million donation from the Taylor family, which is the single largest private bequest to the university in MRU’s one hundred year history.
Anderson said there have been some complications in terms of final contraction of construction, but that 95 per cent of the project is basically funded and contracted. “We’ve continued to refine the design and work with our architects to make sure it’s in line with the budget,” he said.
Despite difficulties that are bound to arise during a major construction project, Anderson assured students that they would not be footing the bill for any funding losses.
“We’re not taking student dollars to fund challenges,” Anderson said.
Anderson explained that money that goes toward funding students comes from a completely different budget than the money that’s funding this project. “We’re very clear. Mount Royal’s — and most universities’ — capital budget is distinct from their operating budget.”
The funding for the Conservatory comes from the operating budget, and any unforeseen funding loses would not affect future students’ tuition costs.
Due to constraints of the budget, designing the building has been tricky. “Because it’s such a unique building, it was (a matter of) working through the design to make sure we didn’t exceed budget,” Anderson explained.
“It basically was: design, evaluate cost, adjust or redesign, evaluate cost, design…”
Design complications for The Bella include acoustical analysis for the concert hall and lighting, among other things. When complete, the venue will hold 774 seats for performances.
The Conservatory and The Bella concert hall are scheduled for completion June 2013.