Cover Story: Why hasn’t Pub opened?

The interior of Pub as of Jan. 19, 2016. Photo by Kayla Perry

More unforeseen delays affecting reopening of Pub

By Jessica Robinson, Staff Reporter

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It’s been two months since the Lambda last reported on the delayed renovations of the campus pub, at which time the Students’ General Association (SGA) President Johnny Humphrey projected a tentative opening for the Winter 2016 semester. But with January quickly drawing to a close, students remain keenly aware that pub has yet to reopen.

Humphrey, along with Brad Parkes, Executive Director of Physical Plant and Planning at Laurentian University, explained that more problems with building infrastructure have prolonged the delays.

“This part of the renovation was supposed to be done back in the fall. But when we found a collapsed sewer pipe coming out of the building, we had to fix it,” said Parkes. “And it’s taken a lot of time to engineer, negotiate price, order materials, and literally get them to site.”

“We’re starting, started this week [January 11-15 2016], to dig this nice 14-foot deep hole down there,” he continued. “And unfortunately, where that hole is being dug is where Aramark was to be storing their equipment.”

Aramark’s catering equipment is currently being stored in pub, which is preventing the reopening from moving forward.

“Once the Aramark equipment is out, then we can clean, get everything ready, and get hiring,” said Humphrey.

Parkes confirmed that they’re trying to get the SGA into the Pub Downunder by “the end of January.”

Students have been open about expressing their concerns over the absence of a pub on campus. Grant Trayner, second year SPAD student at LU, admits to being “a little disappointed with the delays,” saying it has “greatly affected” his year.

Fourth year psychology student Dax James Law even referred to the delays as “preposterous,” continuing on to state that “Pub’s closure [is] frustrating because it’s a fantastic spot to study. The food is fantastic, and the pub is far removed from loud passersby. Also, purple helmets are glorious.”

Humphrey is the first to admit that pub’s closure has posed some challenges for the SGA. “Losing any student space is always a bit of an issue for us,” he said. Moving programming into pub was “definitely the plan” because next year campus mod is going to infiltrate the student centre, making the pub a central location for students.

“Last year, we had some really successful events there,” said Humphrey, “so it does hurt, having that momentum sort of being lost.”

A meeting concerning pub and the surrounding construction was scheduled to take place on Tuesday, January 19 2016, soon after which Humphrey expects to have an official opening date for students.

“[Pub has] been one of the major concerns that students have come to us with this year, so we’ll be sure that once there’s anything official, that we’re sending it out, making sure students are aware,” Humphrey said.

On the whole, the delays have been reported as unfortunate, but not inconceivable.

“We’re doing everything we can,” said Humphrey. “Obviously, with construction in a building this old, there’s always going to be some setbacks.”