New TRUSU building in very early planning stages

New building 'likely' needed within the next two decades, according to TRUSU.

TRU’s Student Union (TRUSU) is in the early stages of securing a plot for a new building on campus as part of amendments to the campus master plan. Even though it would be some time before anything became official, a senior representative from the union was agreeable to discussing ideas about what a new building could accomplish.

The proposal for a new building was mentioned during TRUSU’s annual general meeting on Jan. 22, a meeting which saw an increased student turnout compared to prior years.

TRUSU Executive Director Nathan Lane told the Omega that although there are no immediate plans to build a new student union building, they are taking measures to ensure they may be able to do so in the future.

“TRU is currently in the process of developing its long-term master plan. So we’ve approached TRU to try and secure a memorandum of understanding which [would] essentially set aside a parcel of land on which a future student union building could be built,” Lane said.

The master plan acts as a guiding document for the future development of the campus. According to Lane, it has been nearly a decade since TRU released the most recent master plan, so the university is currently updating it. 

Lane said he hopes to complete the memorandum of understanding by the end of this academic year to ensure TRUSU will have a suitable physical home long-term. However, he added that a new building will probably not be required within the next decade.

“It’s likely at some point the student union will expand its facilities. We’re talking 20 years into the future,” Lane said.

The union resides in the Campus Activity Centre (CAC), occupying an addition constructed in 2001. This iteration is lacking some features that Lane said could be beneficial for students.

“We’re doing the best we can to use the facilities that we have, and I think that our existing space is succeeding,” Lane said on how the CAC currently serves TRUSU. “There [are] a whole series of opportunities [for] spaces that could be considered in a new development.”

Specifically, Lane noted the need for more usable outdoor space and a large indoor event space that caters to clubs and campus groups in the current building.

Since this potential project is in its earliest stages, no exact location is being considered. Though Lane said the union would have some general aspirations in mind.

“Our goal is to try to secure a location that will be at [the] full build-out of TRU, closer to the center,” Lane said. “The further away from the center of the developed campus, the more limitations it puts on you for programs and other things.”

Due to its early stage, a source of funding for the project has yet to be considered.

“It varies widely across the province,” Lane said of how a student union building would be financed. “There’s lots of different models for how a building might be funded. We have not started any of those conversations yet.”

Ultimately, Lane affirmed that the first step is agreeing to a memorandum of understanding with TRU, which TRUSU hopes to accomplish later this year.