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Everyone invited to Town Hall meeting about expanded athletics facilities

IN THE SWIM: An acquatics centre, as depicted in this artistic rendering, is at the heart of plans for enhanced athletic facilities at UTSC.

A Town Hall meeting will be held to provide more information about the expansion of athletic facilities at the University of Toronto Scarborough.

The meeting will be held on Wednesday, January 20 at 12 noon in the Meeting Place. Student and staff representatives will speak and take questions at the event. Everyone is welcome to attend, including students, staff, faculty and community members.

The announcement that Toronto will be the host of the 2015 Pan Am Games has been great news for UTSC, whose facility plans have been described as the “crown jewel” and a legacy facility for the Games.

The games make possible a partnership to create a state-of-the-art athletic facility, with plans for two Olympic-sized, 52-metre swimming pools, a 10-metre diving tank, multipurpose gymnasiums, a running track, racquet courts, and fitness and training areas.

A student referendum on a levy to support the expansion of athletics facilities at the University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) will take place March 17, 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Student Centre. The executive of the Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) voted in December to put to the student body a referendum on the question of a student levy spread over several years to help pay for an expansion of athletic facilities that will greatly enhance the campus in the future.

“The Pan Am Games win provides us all a collective opportunity to move the whole campus forward and make it a legacy of pride for the rest of our lifetimes,” said student Aisha Khaja, vice-president (academics) of the SCSU. “The referendum is a challenging one but the broader benefits are huge, lasting, and of relevance to every student now and in the future. The pride in our campus and public recognition will be enormous.”

“This is a very exciting time to be a student at UTSC,” said student John Kapageridis, president of the Scarborough College Athletics Association (SCAA). “With the proposed athletic facility, we as students now have an opportunity to create something whose benefits will extend far beyond the boundaries of this campus. This new facility will help to reinforce UTSC’s identity as a fun and exciting place to get a top-calibre education, all the while providing its students with countless extracurricular opportunities that will enhance their university experience.”

The SCSU has endorsed the referendum, in alliance with the SCAA. “The referendum will be a very important vote,” said student Amir Bashir, acting president and vice-president (external) of the SCSU. “We need a high turnout to ensure that the result reflects a strong proportion of the student body and that the students’ voices are heard, because there is a student levy involved.”

The proposed levy is for $40 per student per semester prior to the building of the facility, and $140 per student per semester after the facility is built. Student levies have funded other key venues across the University of Toronto, including the UTSC Student Centre. Khaja noted that existing buildings funded by student levies demonstrate the foresight and commitment of previous students to support a legacy for the campus and community.

“I think that, as more information comes out about the Pan Am Games and the facilities for UTSC, our students will begin to understand all of the benefits,” Khaja added. “Many students complain that the current Athletics facilities are not sufficient, and so the fact that there will be swimming pools and all of these other facilities will be huge. The changes will be really beneficial and although they will take time, they will have a significant impact. I think these changes and the building up of a North Campus will also attract more new faculty here. Once the students are informed and once they see everything they’ll be getting, I think they will understand that this is very beneficial.”

“I was thrilled and very excited when the Pan Am news came out, and I think a lot of us were in a state of shock,” said Khaja. “To know that there’s potential for this really amazing facility right here is a great thing.”

A new student web site has been set up with details about the athletics facility. To view it, click here

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