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Thursday, June 8, 2000

  • North campus plans fall through
  • Looking ahead to Canada Day
  • Rome gift to architecture director
  • Approved by the board of governors

North campus plans fall through

[Property north of Columbia Street]
Aerial photo used in publicity for the Watpark consortium shows the area that was to be developed, northeast of Columbia Lake. Columbia Street runs left-right (west-east) at centre, and UW's main campus is at bottom.
University officials announced yesterday that the square mile of UW's north campus will continue to stand largely empty -- the proposed "research and technology" park isn't going to happen in the near future.

The park is being "put on hold", said an announcement released by the UW news bureau the morning after an hour-long closed session of UW's board of governors.

It makes clear that in spite of efforts by development and real estate experts, there's no "anchor tenant" for the park -- a large firm to build a major facility that would attract other companies to settle nearby. A decision was made last year to look for a local company to take that role, after a search for a national or international firm came up empty. Media speculation mentioned several UW spinoffs and other dot.com companies, including Research In Motion, the hot wireless company that recently bought several pieces of property just to the east of campus.

Said yesterday's announcement:

Following several years of planning and concerted effort, the University of Waterloo has decided not to proceed with development of a research park on its north campus at this time.

The Campus Master Plan, adopted in 1992, targeted 200 acres on the north campus for development of a world-class research park. In 1998, following a request for proposals, UW signed a Letter of Intent with the Watpark Consortium for the development of a park. The consortium is headed by Euromart International Bancorp Ltd., and Co-operators Development Corporation Limited.

Over the last two years, the Watpark Consortium has accomplished a good deal of preparatory work including the design and plan of the park and a broad range of servicing and infrastructure studies. The Consortium has received excellent cooperation from both the city and Region of Waterloo in their efforts.

Key to the successful launch of the park was identification of a critical mass of lead tenants to anchor the project and ensure its ongoing development. Notwithstanding national and international marketing efforts, it has not been possible to secure the constellation of lead tenants necessary to move forward with the project in the way that was envisioned.

The university will now take some time to re-evaluate options for development of the north campus lands. A good deal has been learned from the recent initiative, and development of a research park could move ahead quickly if sufficient lead tenants were identified in the future.

Commercial real estate agent John Whitney, who has been helping to market the park, is quoted in this morning's K-W Record as calling the university decision "a huge disappointment". He says he'd like to move ahead with the project by signing up smaller, locally-based high-tech firms, who are having trouble finding good space.

Looking ahead to Canada Day

[Maple Leaf waves] With a national holiday fast approaching, the university's community relations office, the Federation of Students, and a group of staff and student volunteers have been working hard planning the UW Canada Day Celebrations, to be held Saturday, July 1, beside Columbia Lake.

Because Canada Day falls on a Saturday this year, the university will mark the holiday on Monday, July 3. Offices and most services will be closed, and classes will not be held on that day.
"Every year," says public relations assistant Sarah Dolbey, "this free family oriented event attracts over 50,000 people to UW's North Campus for fireworks, food, and fun. This is the 16th year that UW has been involved in organizing Canada Day Celebrations for the Kitchener-Waterloo community."

She notes that the event has evolved over the years from a small community gathering, into Waterloo Region's largest Canada Day celebration, complete with games, food, live music, "and, of course, fireworks".

Says Dolbey: "An event such as this takes a lot of time and planning. A group of approximately 30 volunteers is headed by event manager Heather Larsen, a fourth year honours psychology and applied studies student. Working on a limited budget and under the pressure of high community expectations, the group continues to come up with creative concepts to re-invent the celebrations each year."

This year a new area is being developed, a "Community Corner" where the public can get involved in their community in a number of different ways. There will be donation boxes, volunteer opportunities, an exchange board and a sign up for the Residential Energy Efficiency Program (REEP). This area, Dolbey says, "is the UW Canada Day Celebration's gift to the 'Our Millennium', project, a national initiative to get people involved with their communities."

Through the development of innovative areas such as community corner, and the continuation of old favorites such as the children's mini-Olympics, the UW Canada Day Celebrations continues to grow and attract the local community, organizers promise. Anyone interested in getting involved with the plans, and the work to be done on Canada Day, can reach committee chair Heather Larsen through the Federation of Students office at 888-4042, or e-mail canadaday@uwaterloo.ca.

Briefly noted on a Thursday

Says a note from the graduate studies office: "The need to recruit and enrol more graduate students has been noted in senior university committees and the Senate. To assist in this effort, the Graduate Studies Office and the Associate Vice President, Academic are hosting a dynamic one day seminar presented by Tom Jackson of the Graduate & Professional School Enrolment Management Corporation, 'Great Ideas for Recruiting Graduate Students'. Topics will include: How to Attract the Brightest and Best Students, How to Increase your Applicant Pool, Ways to Use the Internet and World Wide Web to Recruit Graduate Students, Recruiting International Students, Publications and Promotional Materials, and How to Actively Involve Faculty, Students, and Alumni in your Recruiting Program. This event will take place on Friday, June 9, from 8:15 to 4:30 in DC 1302. Contact Jeanette Nugent at ext. 3933 for further information."

The Humanities Theatre is rented out this evening for a performance by Kitchener-based Dance Adventure.

Environmental studies alumni in Ottawa, of whom there are many, are invited to a reception tonight at the National Gallery of Canada (5:30 to 7:30).

Rome gift to architecture director

The director of the school of architecture got an unexpected treat the other day -- a gift from his second-year class.

At a brief ceremony, students in the class presented their director, Rick Haldenby, with a beautifully framed 18th century print showing a reconstruction of ancient Rome. The work of a French scholar by the name of Francesco Nodot, the plan shows the principal monuments of the ancient capital reconstructed. There is also a tiny inset plan of the site of Rome with no buildings on it. The plan was printed in 1706.

The class made the presentation in gratitude for the work being done to enhance the quality of architectural education at UW through the new program and the push to expand the space and improve the facilities in the school.

During a work term in Ottawa, two students discovered the print in an antique store. They canvassed their classmates via the class e-group and collected the funds to make the purchase.

"The gift is particularly poignant on the eve of the Roma XX exhibition celebrating the 20th anniversary of the school's Rome Program," Haldenby said. "It is the first gift of its kind and will grace the School of Architecture in perpetuity."

The Roma XX exhibition opens June 13 at the Galleria at BCE Place in downtown Toronto, and will run through June 24. It boasts works by some of the more than 800 students who have spent time in Rome since the school of architecture launched its Rome program, as well as drawings by prominent Rome-based architects and designers.

Approved by the board of governors

UW's board of governors gave quick approval to a whole series of proposals at its summer meeting on Tuesday afternoon. Among the matters approved with no visible disagreement: Also at the board meeting, president David Johnston spoke briefly about the recent "retreat" by UW's senior executives, at which they got to work on plans for the university's next few years and the coming capital campaign. "Our hope would be to bring to the board and the senate, very early in the new year, a crystallized set of academic priorities," Johnston said.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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