The University of Western Ontario



Senate Committee on University Planning




Greg Moran, Provost and Vice-President (Academic)


Peter Mercer, Vice-President (Administration)




November 17, 1998




Undergraduate Teaching Facilities

There is a critical and urgent need to augment and enhance our undergraduate teaching facilities. Western's new programs in Health Sciences, and Media, Information & Technoculture have been successfully introduced and are expanding. First year admissions in Engineering Sciences was substantially increased this year as a first step in expanding our programs in computer and information technology and enrolment will grow annually as the programs reach a steady-state. These increases wi th anticipated increased enrolment in Computer Science comprise the University's response to the Government of Ontario's Access to Opportunities Program. A new section of the high-demand HBA program will accept its first students in 1999-00. The Ivey Scho ol is also considering the expansion of other educational programs. If we do not develop new classroom facilities, medium to large classrooms in particular, we will not be able to accommodate the students in this wide range of new and growing programs. In addition, increased class sizes in large enrolment Faculties has produced a critical shortage of medium and large classrooms across campus.

In the absence of an overall growth in enrolment at Western, a plan has been devised to meet these program needs that involves a good deal of shuffling and renovation of existing space. Somerville House offers a convenient, central loca tion for classroom and related academic use, and forms the focal point of this plan. In addition to the two, very successful classrooms opened in Somerville in September, 1998, the plan will see the creation of four additional larger classrooms, 6 seminar rooms, computer laboratory space; a total of about 20,000 square feet of new teaching space.

The renovations of Somerville also will serve a number of other vital academic functions. The expanding programs in Business and Engineering require additional faculty appointments and associated office and support space. The full cost recovery MBA program currently has insufficient general student space. The Ivey School will fund the refurbishment of this latter space from its own revenues.

Of course, with the liberation of space for these direct academic purposes in Somerville comes the displacement of existing occupants and the requirement to identify suitable alternative space. A number of important operations will be e ffected in a domino-like pattern, including a proposed relocation of the Peacock Room and Cafe Somerville --- perhaps the most noticeable of the rearrangements. The leadership of Food Services believes that the relocation of this important facility to Tal bot College can be a real success. The reconfiguration of the former Talbot College cafeteria and adjoining space, together with the possibility of developing a patio area for summer use, raises the prospect of a carefully planned, highly attractive and r eadily accessible space that will be able to offer a high level of service to the community.

The attached documents outline the space realignment proposal, preliminary layouts in Somerville House, and the preliminary cost estimates.


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Last updated: 1998/11/19