SLC space audit results released

The results of the SLC space audit have been released after a survey conducted winter 2014. A total of 6,143 students completed the survey, which evaluated what students wanted, needed, and didn’t need in the SLC.

A report (available on the Feds website) was made from this information. The report was created by Jacob Burns, a Feds summer co-op student, to summarize the information received from the survey. The goal of the survey was to measure student opinion regarding the uses of the SLC and what changes they feel should be made.

Ben Balfour, Feds VP operations and finance, said,  “We really needed to understand what students wanted and which direction they wanted to go.” His predecessor, Natasha Pozega, started the project.

One of the largest priorities identified in the survey was a need to increase the variety of food services available in the SLC. One of the most popular requests was for a Starbucks. In June, UW Food Services announced plans to open a Starbucks in the Science Teaching Complex, when it opens in April 2015.

According to the survey, the average student visits the SLC between two and three times a week and visiting Tim Horton’s is their most frequent reason for doing so. According to Balfour, “Tim Horton’s popularity can be attributed to many respondents incorporating a coffee run into their daily routine.”      

The survey also showed that the majority of students want on-campus access to banking services from another branch. Currently CIBC is the only bank on campus. The most demanded option was TD Canada Trust, however, due to an exclusivity agreement signed between CIBC and the university, Feds is unable to open any additional banks in the SLC.

Respondents also requested more student space. Given the busy and loud nature of the SLC, space for group study was in greatest demand, followed by quiet study, and lastly silent study. Increasing study space is one of the five key focuses of the further research Feds plans to conduct, along with external businesses and services, prayer rooms, additional food services, and the priority of curricular vs. extra-curricular activities.

“What resonated with me was the desire for more community, for it to be more of a community feel within the building. I think that the SLC is a unique building on campus, this is the one spot where students can really work to create a community that they want,” Balfour said.

Modernizing the SLC is something Feds has been discussing for some time. The board of directors approved a plan to purchase three MappedIn kiosks for $44,183 at their October meeting. Two of these kiosks were installed on Tuesday.         

At last month’s AGM, Feds passed an initiative on improving SLC accessibility. Feds will be partnering with the undergraduate student relations committee for this project.