MRU Campus Master Plan: More improvements to come
By Gregory Balanko-Dickson, Contributor
Andrea Ranson, Director of Marketing and Communications at Mount Royal University recently told the Reflector about the university’s plans for the old library and other spaces on campus. The old library space will be used for centralizing student services and incorporating a better flow and functionality of MRU’s mainstreet.
But, there are other plans for additions to recreation, retail spaces on campus and how the administration has engaged the students to make the Campus Master Plan a reality.
While the Campus Master Plan made room for an addition to MRU recreation services, Ranson says that won’t be happening for a while.
“The current priority is renovating the old book store location. Longer term, the Campus Master Plan anticipates more retail in the mixed-use precinct,” says Ranson. The mixed-use precinct will be located “on the ground floor of residential development on the east side of campus.”
The Campus Master Plan was updated in July 2016 and is considered to be a “living document” — which Ranson says is “written and structured to provide the University with a flexible decision-making framework to accommodate specific opportunities and needs as they emerge.” This means that the Plan can be changed or updated at any time.
According to MRU’s website, President David Docherty says, “It is critical that we continue to build for the future, ensuring our Lincoln Park campus evolves into a community that is vibrant throughout the day and at all times of the year. Our campus must offer the full range of amenities, services, spaces, opportunities and experiences expected of a growing post-secondary institution.”
With the current renovations scheduled to be completed by the end of December, it remains unknown when the other developments could begin.
“When funding is received for the Main Building Concept Design phase, student engagement will be included in the process,” says Ranson, adding that when the Campus Master Plan was created it involved “a lot of student engagement.”
The Campus Master Plan says that the engagement process has collaborated with “students and student council representatives, MRU administrative staff, MRU faculty and department heads, members of the surrounding community, representatives from Canada Lands and Atco and City of Calgary Staff.”
Student engagement has been a key concern for Shannon Kell, Assistant Professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at MRU.
Kell is collaborating with a Learning Spaces Working Group and Facilities Maintenance to review a survey taken by more than 450 MRU students on the topic of student wellness on campus. The study examines how classrooms, study spaces and exterior spaces impact student wellness on campus. The results for the study won’t be available until mid-December.