Infrastructure woes continue at U of R
Libin Salad – Contributor
As many students and staff have noticed, our brand new (and very expensive) University of Regina sign out on the west entrance of the campus is now surrounded by orange construction fences. What is wrong with it? What is going on? After asking around, I found out that they are doing repairs towards the lighting system that were only supposed to take two weeks from the announcement made in September. Obviously, since the barriers are still up, they must be behind schedule.
A little more investigating was done to see if there was anything else wrong with the sign revealed no other issues. But it was also noted that the University, despite the initial negative reaction to the current sign, is planning to build at least two more large signs (as stated by President Timmons, according to a source within the Executive Council).
I spoke with Dr. Dennis Fitzpatrick, Chair of the University of Regina Faculty Association, about the new developments, and he gave me a shocking look at the math. As we all know, the existing sign cost approximately one million dollars, and the new North Gateway project will cost upwards of $400,000 but based on the estimations made by Fitzpatrick, the coming of the new signage projects could bring the University’s total signage spending as high as $2.5 to $3 million.
“It’s not about spending money,” said Dr. Fitzpatrick, “it’s about how we spend it.”
The issue certainly has caught the media’s attention, especially CBC, who noted how the university was falling into a state of greater disrepair in a short clip published this September.
Dr. Christopher Yost, a professor in the department of Biology, described the issue of leaky roofing to the reporter saying, “You can’t teach… we’ve heard it in the past. It’s just too expensive to fix the problem, to replace the whole roof; it’s has to be fixed. It’s compromising our ability to teach and do research.”
All eyes turn towards the Senior Administration and the Board of Governors for agreeing for such injustice to continue its steamroll. The Auditors of Saskatchewan are also others to be scrutinized as their job should have lead them to flag the audacious actions, yet nothing has been issued on this regard. Dr. Fitzpatrick agreed with this sentiment but also placed part of the blame on us. Town Hall Meeting and petitions revolve around the community, but when a small number of people attend these sessions, our authorities are free to operate unscrutinized.
Should we be doing more to emphasize our institution and to stop out-of-scope hiring and agreements? As a community, that is our responsibility. If you are disgusted by this behaviour, speak out instead of turning a blind eye.
[Editor’s note: This piece has been updated for clarity. A previous edition did not specify that the $2.5-3mil figure included the cost of the initial sign installation.]