As crisp breezes herald the beginning of another school year, lots of new and exciting things are happening at McGill. Here are a half dozen of the new spaces, places and initiatives.
A new place to lay your head, hit the books, and make new friends
La Citadelle, McGill’s newest student residence, is situated in the heart of Montreal, just two blocks east of downtown campus on Sherbrooke Street. The hotel-style building recently welcomed its first cohort of nearly 300 excited students. With rooms boasting private bathrooms, air conditioning, and flat screen TVs, La Citadelle’s inhabitants will be sleeping and studying in style.
They may also pick up some culinary skills, as the residence has a large communal kitchen where students can prepare their own meals. They also have the option, of course, of joining their fellow students in any dining hall on campus.
The new Gerts
McGill’s notorious and beloved campus watering hole, Gerts, is sporting a fresh look. After undergoing considerable renovations over the summer, this hotspot now boasts a trendy, industrial style with a more spacious atmosphere. In addition to the structural changes, new food choices are being introduced, as well as a larger selection of local and imported beers. The food services will be run by SSMU staff. Funding for the facelift and introduction of new services comes from SSMU’s working budget and its capital expenditure reserve fund.
An impressive spate of new courses is being offered up this year. In The Faculty of Education’s Traditional Healing course, for example, students will explore Aboriginal traditional healing and its cultural value through elders’ knowledge and stories. The School of Architecture is offering Redesigning Suburban Space, an urban planning course that focuses on transforming North American suburban areas to meet our changing contemporary needs.
The Department of Mechanical Engineering will teach students how to better understand sound spaces and give them the skills needed to create better music venues in Engineering Acoustics. In another promising course, Cinema and the Visual, offered by the Department of Languages, Literature and Cultures, students will examine European cinema and its surrounding cultural history and archeology.
Thanks to funding from the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, several buildings on McGill’s downtown campus have received extensive renovations. The McIntyre Medical Building, which had not been updated since its construction in 1966, now features almost 26,000 square feet of brand new laboratories. The interior of Otto Maas Chemistry Building was largely demolished and rebuilt to accommodate modern research needs. As well, the Macdonald Engineering complex received significant upgrades to laboratories and other teaching facilities. All three buildings now boast more sustainable water and energy systems. In addition, the Arts building benefited from complete cleaning and restoration of its masonry and its historic wood-framed windows. Lastly, the roofs and terraces of the McLennan-Redpath Library are being reinforced and reshaped to be more resistant to winter’s effects and more aesthetically attractive.
At Macdonald Campus, the School of Dietetics recently launched a joint project with Corbeille du Pain (CDP), a West Island non-profit that provides food and food services to young mothers, youth being released from foster homes and seniors living below the poverty line. The School will help CDP build capacity to improve availability and access to food and to empower people to feed themselves and their families through a variety of food and educational programs. The project will enable CDP to identify nutrition needs of its clients, help the organization expand its community, teach clients how to shop and cook within their budget and help CDP preserve the excess of their bounty using quick freeze equipment in campus food labs.
Expanded Fitness Centre ready for action
After undergoing renovations this past spring and summer, the Fitness Centre in the McGill Sports Complex has now reopened. The popular and often times previously crowded gym now has an additional 2,000 square feet of floor space, into which existing equipment will be moved. Students and staff will now have more breathing room as they use the machines and free weights, and do their stretching. The equipment migration will also free up space in the older portion of the facility. As well, some exercise machines have been upgraded.