A decade ago, Queen’s had grandiose visions of building a new athletic facility, hockey rink and student life centre on campus. But events led to a half-finished project and a mountain of debt.
Today, most Queen’s students have never heard of the Queen’s Centre project — or the promise it held for the University. But Colin McLeod, ArtSci ’09, remembers the constant hum of machinery on campus, when noise kept students up at night and blocked access on roads between University Ave. and Division St. McLeod lived through the height of construction of the Queen’s Centre — a project that aimed to expand student space and athletic facilities starting in the mid-2000s. “Living at the corner of Barrie and Earl [Streets], I would often hear the dynamiting and feel our apartment building shake at times,” McLeod said. But construction went silent sooner than expected. The project lasted from 2005-09, when it was abruptly brought to a halt. The Queen’s Centre project had three phases: Phase 1: the Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC) and a building for the School of Kinesiology and Health Sciences. Projected cost: $124 million
Phase 2: an arena and field house project. Projected cost: $83 million
Phase 3: a student centre that would have replaced the current John Deutsch University Centre (JDUC). Projected cost: $24 million The first phase was originally slated to cost $124 million. Queen’s spent $169 million. The University never made it to Phase 2 or Phase 3. Phase 1 was scheduled to be built between 2006-09, Phase 2 between 2009-12 and Phase 3 between 2012-14, according to a 2006 Board of Trustees report. Undergraduate students paid a mandatory fee each year for the project between 2005-12. The fee, initially $70.50, was increased to $141 in 2010. It had been scheduled to last until 2020. Despite a statement from Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne in 2009 that development had been postponed indefinitely, the University never formally cancelled the Queen’s Centre project. The majority of administrators involved — from the principal to vice-principals to fundraisers — have since moved on or resigned. McLeod, who now works as a policy analyst for Environment Canada, said he’s “cautiously optimistic” that Phases 2 and 3 will be completed at some point. The reality is less bright, according to Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Alan Harrison. Harrison was hired in 2011 — two years after the project had been put on hold. Despite not knowing specific details about the project, he said Phases 2 and 3 weren’t and still aren’t financially viable for the University. The construction of Phase 1 had finished in 2009, and by 2011 the decision whether to proceed was in the hands of the Board of Trustees. As one of the three governing bodies of the University, the Board of Trustees oversees all financial matters and approves major capital expenses for Queen’s. When Harrison arrived at Queen’s, he stated that the project would continue to be postponed. His role in the project was minimal, he said, aside from discussing the use of the Queen’s Centre student fee funds with the AMS when the project was postponed. Queen’s biggest mistake, Harrison said, was starting the project without having secured the necessary funds beforehand. Private donations were meant to comprise $126 million of the project’s cost, but only $13.7 million was ever collected, according to Harrison. “Philanthropists were less forthcoming with their money than those who ran our advancement [campaign] were expecting,” he said. Construction costs also increased after the project started in 2006, and continued to rise through 2008-09, which drove up the costs of Phase 1. Andrew Simpson, vice-principal (operations and finance), was in charge of the Queen’s Centre project during construction. He told The Journal in 2008 that the cost of construction materials increased by two per cent each month since the project began in August 2006. Since the project was postponed, Queen’s has changed its capital project approval process to mandate that the University has all funds secured before a project begins, according Harrison. Step 16 of the 20-step approval process mandates that a project can only be approved if 100 per cent of the funds have been secured. If not, the policy mandates that the Board of Trustees can approve the project “in principle” but can’t commit to it until it has been fully funded through donations. The consequence of “building on a whim”, Harrison said, is long-term debt. The University extracts $6 million annually from its operating budget to pay interest on debt from Phase 1, according to Harrison. The Ontario Infrastructure Projects Corporation loaned the University a total of $75 million for the Queen’s Centre in 2010, according to the University’s 2009-2010 budget report. Even if they had the money for it, Harrison said, the University wouldn’t restart the project — at least not in its original form. “We have done some of the things or found ways to deal with some of the issues that would have been dealt with by Phases 2 and 3,” he said. Today, the University has few physical reminders of the last two thirds of the Queen’s Centre project — save for architectural plans for Phases 2 and 3 left hanging in a side entrance of the JDUC. The posters depict an expanded media centre and a refurbished campus hockey rink. Beyond those preliminary drawings, neither service exists today.
The project lasted from 2005-2009, 
but was brought to a halt. Phase 1 was scheduled to be built between 2006-09, 
Phase 2 between 2009-12 and Phase 3 between 2012-14. Alan Harrison, provost and vice-principal (academic) says Phases 2 and 3 weren’t and still aren’t financially viable for 
the University. Private donations were intended to cover $126 million of the project's cost, but only $13.7 million was collected. A project that is lacking in funds can be approved by the Board of Trustees "in principle", potentially leading to long-term debt.
There used to be a hockey arena on campus. It was called Jock Harty, and it resided where there’s now an empty parking lot behind the five-story Queen’s Centre building. Jock Harty was demolished in 2007 to make way for a new hockey arena — one that never arrived. Like the completed Athletics and Recreation Centre (ARC), the new arena was intended to be part of the multi-phase, multi-million dollar Queen’s Centre project.
The origins of the Queen’s Centre go back into the 1970s, according to former Vice-Principal (Advancement) George Hood. That’s when students began paying for enhanced athletic facilities, after the University introduced a $5 Capital Campaign annual fee. Multiple principals have worked on expanding student and athletic space over the last four decades, according to Hood, and a task force was investigating the possibility of constructing a new athletic facility before he arrived at Queen’s in 1998. Around 2003, Dean of Students Bob Crawford proposed the Queen’s Centre project to provide improved athletics facilities, according to Hood. He said then-Principal Bill Leggett asked him to take over fundraising and look into the feasibility of the project. At that point, Hood said, he had already raised $262 million for the Campaign for Queen’s fundraising campaign. He began fundraising and conducting feasibility assessments for the Queen’s Centre project, and signed an agreement with the AMS in 2006 to enact the annual student fee of $70.50. In 2003, Hood visited 23 North American universities — from Harvard and MIT to McGill and the University of Toronto — in search of athletic centres that could be used as models for the Queen’s Centre. Queen’s spent $46,075 on travel and meetings for the project team by August 2006, according to documents obtained by The Journal through a Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) request. Expenses for Hood’s travel alone accounted for $11,084. The analysis of various athletic centers and student spaces, he said, led to a five-phase model of the Queen’s Centre — originally intended to cost $200 million total. Hood’s research team planned to only start a second phase once Phase 1 had been fully funded, he said. Karen Hitchcock — who replaced Leggett as principal in 2004 — had other ideas, according to Hood. As she took office, the University took on a new mindset for managing its affairs, according to Hood — one where discussion between students and the administration was reduced. “It certainly wasn’t anything that I was familiar with in terms of the historical Queen’s way of making decisions, which was to do it jointly. Do it with the students, not to the students,” he said. “There was a real sense that they could just make decisions and that was the way it was.” Following the signing of the MOU — memorandum of understanding — the administration didn’t run the project based on regular discussions with students, Hood said. He said Principal Bill Leggett would “wander over” to the student union to discuss important topics with members of the AMS, and students were constantly involved in decision-making during his term. Queen’s had previously made decisions through such informal discussions with students and had insisted on a “sense of unanimity” from students and faculty, he said. Simpson and Hitchcock, although qualified for their roles, didn’t have the same understanding of the culture of Queen’s, according to Hood. While Hood chaired the committee on the Queen’s Centre, he added, faculty members asked students what they thought and tasked the students with coming up with their own proposals if they offered good ideas. “You make the students a serious player,” he said. Simpson and Hitchcock, he added, didn’t encourage the same level of discussion or engagement on campus. “I spoke six times a day with Leggett. I spoke six times a month with [Hitchcock]. Leggett was a hands-on guy,” he said. Once construction of the Queen’s Centre began in 2006, Hood said he had disagreements with the administration, including the debt financing used for the project. Hood and his team created a feasibility report in 2002, which states that there should be no long-term debt for the Queen’s Centre. Instead, the report cites corporate financing and philanthropy as the primary sources of funding. Hood said he was originally going to run the Queen’s Centre project, but following an objection from Physical Plant Services, the University tapped the new Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) — Andrew Simpson — to co-chair the project with Hood. According to Hood’s account, he declined to co-chair the project and decided to focus on fundraising instead. Hood said he left the University in 2006 after finding that he had “philosophically fallen out of favour” with Principal Hitchcock. Hitchcock and Andrew Simpson both disagreed with Hood’s claims. Hitchcock — who resigned from her position in 2008 — told The Journal that student feedback was important for the Queen’s Centre project. “The need to interact with students has always been very high on my list. Hence town halls, hence individual meetings, hence open office hours,” she said. Hitchcock retired to Rexford, New York, after leaving Queen’s. She declined to speak on the specifics of the Queen’s Centre project, and said didn’t want to enter a “back and forth” with Hood. She and Andrew Simpson came from university environments that emphasized the role of students as well, she said, and both made students the main partner in the Queen’s Centre project. “I don’t really think that there was a lack of understanding of the culture.” She added that comparing her to Bill Leggett in terms of hours spent with students “doesn’t make any sense” and the Board of Trustees was involved in deciding the leadership for the project before she arrived. “The Board of Trustees had worked out plans and approaches that I had no part in. And that if the vice-principal has some concerns, he should address them to the Trustees,” she said. Andrew Simpson told The Journal via email that the Board of Trustees concluded that some debt had to be taken on to fund the Queen’s Centre project. Simpson currently works at the University of British Colombia as the vice president of finance. He left Queen’s in November 2008. The final plan was created more than two years after Hood conducted feasibility work, Simpson said, and could only be implemented using debt. “After evaluating all possible sources of funding (most particularly fundraising), the only option for completing the project was to consider carrying debt,” he said. Simpson added that Hood’s claims made “little sense when set against the historical record of the project.” He said the planning phase for the project in late 2003, run by the Queen’s Centre Committee of the board, included consultation with students, Queen’s departments, faculty and members of the Kingston community. “Submissions were received, and meetings were held with enormous numbers of groups and individuals. Public meetings were also held to gather feedback on draft plans and program plans,” he said. He added that his work background at New Zealand schools was “in no way” an impediment to working with students. Simpson also said he “would have been pleased” to co-chair the project with Hood, and didn’t understand his comments. He added that if Hood had any of those concerns during the project, he didn’t raise them. While Hood raised money, the AMS discussed its contribution to the project, which was eventually set at $25.5 million. On March 16, 2005, students debated the proposed $70.50 student fee for three hours at the AMS Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Grant Hall. The fee — scheduled to increase to $141 in 2010 — passed with 545 votes for and 212 against. Tyler Turnbull, the AMS president in 2004-05, said the fee question followed a yearlong process of consultation about the Queen’s Centre. “The AMS probably hosted 100 public meetings with student groups from across campus,” he said, noting that the fee was meant to show potential donors that students were committed to the project. The motion moved to the AGM stated that the terms and conditions of the financial contribution would be governed by a “separate Memo of Understanding” (MOU) to be negotiated between the University and the AMS. The MOU was signed the next year between Hood, AMS President Ethan Rabidoux, AMS Vice-President (University Affairs) Shiva Mayer and Dean of Student Affairs Janice Deakin. Under the terms of the MOU, AMS Assembly would make the decision whether to release or withhold the funds from the student fee they collected each year, depending on whether the University met the terms of the agreement. The agreement states that if the cost of the project increased, there would be no impact on the commitment of the AMS, and that the project must replace current facilities with equivalent or higher quality spaces. The agreement provides a 10-year timeline for the project, ending in 2015. According to its terms, the project would consist of the School of Physical and Health Education, the ARC and the Student Life Centre (SLC). The MOU also mandated that the AMS and the University enter “good faith negotiations” on the governance of the student centre to determine who would be responsible for managing the centre’s day-to-day operations. Finally, the MOU states that: “Provided that the specific terms and conditions and general intent set out in this document have been adhered to, the Society shall authorize the release of the scheduled payment of the commitment for that year”. Rabidoux, who’s currently the Perth-Wellington NDP candidate for the upcoming federal election, said the agreement was “black and white” in the power it provided students. It gave the AMS sole discretion to decide whether Queen’s upheld its side of the bargain.
As the plan passed from Principal Leggett to Principal Hitchcock, administration took over the decision making process. "I spoke six times a day with Leggett. I spoke six times a month with [Hitchcock]."
= $230 million
Students began paying for enhanced athletic facilities in the 1970s.
+ $5/student Capital Campaign annual fee + $262 million from Queen's fundraising + $70.50/student as a new student fee - $46,075 on travel/meetings for project team - $200 million (original project cost) + $25.5 million AMS contribution + $141/student as a revised student fee
Plans for the Queen’s Centre were grand and spared no expense. The ARC would be a multi-story building for recreational and varsity athletics, including three gyms, a 25-metre pool, 10 squash and racquetball courts, a larger Common Ground coffeehouse, a food court, a fireside lounge and club space.
Phase 2 would be a new hockey rink and a field house. The rink was planned to replace the on-campus Jock Harty Arena, which Queen’s demolished in 2007. Preliminary blueprints show the Queen’s Pub overlooking the ice rink. The back half of the JDUC would be demolished and replaced by a student centre building in Phase 2, while Phase 3 would incorporate the Union St. area — including the historic section of the JDUC — into the new student centre. The student centre would consolidate student government and service offices in one location, according to plans from 2005. It would also house the media services — CFRC, The Journal and Studio Q (later renamed QTV, and then amalgamated into Studio Q) — in a centralized media centre. The project was financed from several sources, totaling $230 million. According to a 2006 Board of Trustees report, $25.5 million would come from the AMS, $12 million from grants, $4.5 million from “other” sources, $126 million from private donations and $62 million of debt. The University selected several architectural firms for the project, including Bregman + Harmann from Toronto, Boston’s Sasaki Associates, Inc. and Shoalts and Zaback, based in Kingston. Queen’s hired PCL Constructors Canada as the general project contractor. PCL then invited subcontractors to bid on specific parts of the project. Trouble began at the start, as costs escalated throughout the process. The Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) documents reveal that the Board of Trustees had increased the budget for Phase 1 from $123 million to $138 million by September 2007 — a year into the project. Another special Board of Trustees meeting in December 2007, according to a Board report, led to an increase in funding for Phase 1 of $23 million. They set the budget at $162 million. During the same month , the University switched from a construction management agreement to a “stipulated bid”, or fixed-price agreement, with PCL. In a construction management agreement, the client — in this case, the University — uses a general contractor, and subcontractors bid on individual sections of the project. The client and general contractor look for the lowest bids. The general contractor charges a fee, while the rest of the cost for the client depends on the bids for the project. In fixed-price agreements, meanwhile, the client decides on prices at the beginning and contractors take on additional costs if expenses change during the project. Fixed-price agreements generally cost clients more from the outset than construction management agreements, since contractors ask for higher prices to avoid paying for unexpected costs. George Hood said that if he had run the project, the University would have asked for fixed-price agreements from the start, divided the project into five sections and paid for each part of the project sequentially. Construction projects had traditionally been conducted that way at Queen’s, he said — sequentially and with the money in hand. He also said he would have selected a local contractor, such as Sullivan & Son Ltd. or E.S. Fox, instead of PCL. “[Sullivan’s] has built two-thirds of the buildings on the Queen’s campus. You go with what you know and with what has built quality in the past,” he said. The Journal reported in December 2007 that the University chose a construction management agreement due to the level of inflation in the construction industry. The University made the decision in the fall of 2006 when contracts were being negotiated. According to that article, cost consultants advised the University that they could expect contract bids in excess of the budget if they used a fixed-bid contract. According to then-Vice-Principal (Operations and Finance) Andrew Simpson, the construction management approach allowed the University to work with contractors to keep the project under budget. Once bids were finalized with subcontractors, the University fixed the prices to protect it from price escalation, he said. “Unfortunately, the level of price escalation was so extraordinary that the savings identified through this exhaustive process were not sufficient to keep the overall cost within budget,” he said. Then-Principal Karen Hitchcock said “very qualified people” made those decisions, which were reflective of the costs of material and labour at the time. “I don’t think there’s any Queen’s way of building a building, frankly. And if that were the case, you’d be ignoring all the possible new approaches that can be very positive,” she said. Instead, Ann Browne — the vice-principal (facilities) tasked with managing the construction of the Queen’s Centre — made the decision to switch to a fixed-bid contract in Dec. 2007. She told The Journal that December that she changed the agreement due to bids coming from subcontractors — who bid on parts of the project — at far above what PCL had predicted. For example, the bid for masonry work came in $1.5 million over the original estimate, according to Browne’s statements. Browne left Queen’s in 2012 and now works at Memorial University in Newfoundland. She declined an interview with The Journal. “I will not be able to assist you on this as this is going back 8 years for me and I may not remember all of the details,” she said. Hitchcock said she couldn’t comment on the changes in the contract. “The finance department were looking at ways to make the project the most affordable as possible for the project,” Hitchcock said, adding that she didn’t have “the details at my fingertips” to provide accurate information about the finances of the project. The overall cost of Phase 1 increased again between August and December 2008, in accordance with the rising cost of construction materials, according to the budget reports. The University began substituting cheaper materials that year, according to reports from The Journal. The School of Kinesiology building was redesigned by PCL to reduce costs, including a modification to the front lobby and an altered “positioning of the building”. Despite that, an Oct. 2008 Board of Trustees report reveals that the University increased the budget for the building from $18 million to $25 million. The final cost of Phase 1 was set at $169 million. The estimates provided to the University by PCL turned out to be lower than the actual costs, the report states. Hitchcock resigned from Queen’s in 2008. Throughout her time at the University, she said, the administration believed Phases 2 and 3 could be built if more donations came in. She said that she feels her administration didn’t make any major mistakes during the development process, and that the project was already finished the planning stage once she arrived. “There were certainly rising costs … that came into play, and all kinds of things that are really beyond your control,” she said. “All you can really do is handle them the best you can.” Several other administrators resigned or left Queen’s in 2008. Andrew Simpson resigned that November, along with Vice-Principal (Advancement) David Mitchell, who had replaced George Hood in 2007. Construction costs continued to escalate throughout 2009. By February, total expenditures were $94 million, including $72 million in construction. One month later, the cost of construction was $78 million, with the total cost of the project reaching $100 million. The ARC was originally planned to open in September 2009, but heavy rainfall flooded the building that August. Construction was delayed another two months. The ARC finally opened in December 2009. By October 2010, Phase 1 was almost complete. Construction costs alone totaled $150 million — more than the original estimated budget of the entire first phase.
Documents revealed that the Board of Trustees increased the Phase 1 budget from $123 million to $138 million a year into the project. Another Board of Trustees meeting in December 2007 further increased the funding of Phase 1 by $23 million. There were many differing opinions about how to fund the project, and the decision contradicted what Queen's usually does for funding. The University began substituting cheaper materials into the project by 2008. The construction for Phase 1 cost $150 million, more than the total overall original budget for Phase 1.
+ $25.5 million from the AMS + $12 million from grants + $4.5 million from 'other' sources + $126 million from private donations - $62 million in debt + $15 million in budget increase + $23 million in budget increase + $7 million in budget increase - $94 million in total expenditures
While Phase 1 was underway, the fate of Phases 2 and 3 remained uncertain. According to Kingsley Chak, the AMS president in 2007-08, the global financial crisis hit the University hard that year. Queen’s total investment loss that year was $99.2 million, according to a 2009 budget report. Chak, ArtSci ’08, said canceling Phases 2 and 3 wasn’t an option in 2008, and that discussions with the AMS and the administration focused on cost overruns rather than a potential cancellation. In 2009, the University announced that Phase 2 and 3 were postponed “indefinitely”. Vice-Principal (Facilities) Ann Browne made the announcement to The Journal in the April 2 issue of that year. “Very simply, I have been told when we have funding, we will move forward. Until we have funding we will not be moving forward at all. That’s where we’re at right now,” she told The Journal. Michael Ceci, the AMS president in 2008-09, said AMS Assembly then voted to withhold the money collected from its annual student fee from the University. The AMS continued collecting the fee, but instead held the funds in a trust account pending the start of Phases 2 and 3. The fee increased to $141 in 2010, as initially scheduled. Ceci said the warning signs began when administrators informed him in 2009 that a new hockey arena would no longer be built on campus, despite the demolition of Jock Harty Arena in 2007. Queen’s demolished Jock Harty Arena in the spring of 2007. According to Andrew Simpson, Jock Harty was demolished as part of the “sequencing” for the project, which minimized disruption to activities, reduced costs and allowed the project to move more efficiently from one phase to the next. As Queen’s began making cuts to Phase 1, such as the substitution of cheaper materials to reduce costs, Ceci said the AMS became wary of the project — and concerns increased as the University discussed changes to the next two phases. “[They said] there’s not going to be a hockey arena, not going to be a restaurant, not going to be this or that,” he said. Ceci said students pledged $25 million for Phases 1, 2 and 3 — not “a scaled down Phase 1 and no plan for Phase 2 or 3”. He used the withheld funds as a bargaining chip throughout the rest of his term, as negotiations that year concerned the management of the new ARC and the JDUC. Discussions centered on who would manage the facilities of the new Student Centre. Ceci said the AMS, the University and the Society of Graduate and Professional Students (SGPS) negotiated over who would be responsible for security of the building, regular maintenance, furniture, cleaning and waste disposal. “It became clear to the administration that it was to their interest to eventually move to more of an AMS-governed model,” Ceci said, adding that students could do it cheaper and worked more in tune with their own interests. The administration continued to experience turnover. A number of new vice-principals arrived, and Principal Thomas Williams replaced Karen Hitchcock for a year, before Daniel Woolf succeeded him in 2009. “There were a bunch of new actors there that were trying to salvage a bad situation,” Ceci said. By March 2011, then-AMS president Safiah Chowdhury had been negotiating with Queen’s on student governance of the Student Life Centre for 11 months. Chowdhury said she was surprised to meet resistance from the University on the terms of the Management and Operations Agreement for the Student Life Centre (SLC). When complete, the agreement would provide the AMS with control over several buildings on campus, including sections of the JDUC and the Queen’s Centre and the entirety of MacGillvray-Brown Hall and the Grey House. Together, these buildings would comprise the SLC. The agreement had to clear one last hurdle before it became official policy: the Board of Trustees. As Queen’s highest authoritative body, the Board includes representatives from the University administration, faculty, staff, the rector and AMS representatives. Chowdhury said that the morning before a March 5, 2011 meeting — at which the Board would consider the Management and Operations Agreement — Principal Daniel Woolf and then-Chair of the Board of Trustees Bill Young entered her office. She said Woolf and Young told her they wouldn’t pass the agreement unless the AMS released the student fee funds they’d been withholding from the University since 2009. The AMS made the decision to withhold the fee funds during Talia Radcliffe’s term in 2008. This meant that the fees were still collected by the AMS, but the University never received the payments. Instead, they were kept in a trust fund. The fees were first withheld during Chowdhury’s term. Young and Woolf had no role in the negotiations up to this point, according to Chowdhury, and the administrators she'd negotiated with hadn’t mentioned the Queen’s Centre student fee. Chowdhury said the following Board of Trustees meeting was “horrible”. “It was really condescending and patronizing towards the AMS, particularly that we don’t know how to handle money, and they felt as though we’d gone behind their backs,” she said. “The AMS position was that the administration didn’t
live up to their end of the bargain.” But at a reception later that day at Summerhill, Chowdhury said Young pulled her, Woolf, the chair of the AMS finance committee and Chancellor David Dodge aside. Young proposed a compromise. Administrators would approve the agreement, but wanted to add
a clause. The amended motion made the agreement contingent on the AMS coming to an agreement on the use of the withheld student fee funds by December 2011. The amended motion passed the next morning. On
Dec. 2, 2011, the AMS cancelled the student fee and decided to contribute $10 million total to Phase 1. Woolf told The Journal via email that he remembers “candid discussions” between himself and the AMS prior to the Board of Trustees meeting. “Informal meetings like these are not uncommon prior to a Board of Trustees meeting, and often involve members of the AMS, given their role at the university,” he said, adding that the Board felt it was necessary to enter into a governance agreement that resolved the issue of the withheld student fees. “Once it became clear there would be no future [Queen’s Centre] phases, the AMS needed to stop collecting fees and to decide how much to contribute to the first phase.” Chowdhury signed the Management and Operations Agreement on April 28, two days before she left office. The 66-page agreement allocates space for the University, the AMS and the SGPS in the JDUC, and mandates that all “repairs, alternations, renovations or improvements to the AMS/SGPS Allocated Space shall be coordinated with Queen’s”. Morgan Campbell — Chowdhury’s successor as AMS president — negotiated the end of the student fee, and channeled leftover funds from the fees into a $1.2 million fund to renovate the JDUC. Campbell signed an agreement with the University on Dec. 2, 2011. “It became really clear on the University’s side that the Queen’s Centre project was not likely to be moving forward anytime soon,” Campbell said. The agreement Campbell signed provided the University with just over one-third of the pledged contribution, totaling approximately $10 million. All of the contribution went to Phase 1. The agreement also cancelled the student fee, which Campbell confirmed to The Journal on Jan. 24, 2012. The Queen’s Centre project was effectively over. The JDUC revitalization, meanwhile, had begun. According to the agreement, the University and the AMS each hold $500,000 of a $1 million fund for the JDUC and must agree on projects before they begin. The deadline for the revitalization plan was April 2015. This project aimed to improve the student space in the JDUC — particularly the lounge areas, lighting and older rooms — while leaving the building intact. A 20 per cent “contingency” was added to cover unexpected costs, setting the total contribution at $1.2 million.
The AMS continued collecting the student fee after Phase 2 and 3 were postponed, but held the funds in a trust account pending the start of Phases 2 and 3. AMS 2011 President found that the Board of Trustees didn't trust the AMS with the trust fund money. On Dec. 2, 2011, the AMS cancelled the student fee. AMS 2012 President says it was clear that the QC project was unlikely to move forward. The JDUC revitalization project has begun in the meantime to improve the 
student space.
- $99.2 million investment loss + $141/student fee increase + $10 million AMS contribution to Phase 1 + $1.2 million into JDUC revitalization
Memory of the project — postponed indefinitely only five years ago — has faded, but its legacy lingers. The University’s hockey teams, promised a new on-campus hockey arena after the demolition of Jock Harty, instead play at the Memorial Centre, located approximately two kilometers north of campus. The Student Life Centre, once scheduled to replace the JDUC as a new building, now includes a section of the aging student centre. “The Ceilidh skylight will bring light into both Ceilidhs and the walkway on the second floor will facilitate 360-degree traffic movement throughout the space,” AMS Vice President Operations Kyle Beaudry told The Journal via email. Once a company is selected, construction will begin with the “intended start date of late November/December”, according to Beaudry. However, construction could begin later if the quotes they receive aren’t in their price range, he added. The project is part of a larger “JDUC long-term plan”. Beaudry’s predecessors in the AMS — Allison Williams, Justin Reekie and Philip Lloyd — had told The Journal during their term that the long-term plan would include natural light throughout the building, a glass atrium connecting the JDUC’s east and west corridors and accessible stairs and elevators. But the University’s recent announcement that they’ve begun planning to repurpose the Physical Education Centre (PEC) as a student wellness centre has altered that plan. Until discussions around the PEC are complete, long-term plans for the JDUC remain up in the air. “The previous long-term plan did not consider a revitalized PEC, and with this new information we are focused on ensuring that efficient connections to the JDUC, and other student life spaces, are an element of the architectural designs,” Beaudry wrote. Mark Asfar — the 2013-14 SLC manager — said the JDUC is still in sore need of repairs. The building contains historic spaces such as Wallace Hall, the Polson Room and the McLaughlin Room, which need new floors, paint and windows, he said. “The Queen’s Centre and most of the other facilities are doing well, but the JDUC has gone a little neglected in the last few years,” he said. Asfar said the $1.2 million JDUC fund is useful, but it will be a “drop in the water” compared to what needs to be done. He added that he’s “excited” about the long-term JDUC plan, though the AMS will need the full support of the administration to implement it. According to Asfar, students working at the SLC are constantly reminded of what Phases 2 and 3 would have brought to Queen’s. A new student centre, he said, would have corrected the disconnect between the various AMS offices and services – split between different sides of the building — and brought an expanded Queen’s Pub and accessible elevators. But the commitment to provide those services has been forgotten, he said, along with the memory of the project. “The memory is fading, and the only people who are aware of what could have been are the people who work at the SLC,” he said. “And it’s very difficult when you work in the SLC to see — to know — what the dream could have been, and know you’re not getting it anymore.” The JDUC revitalization project is promised to create natural light in the building with improved accessibility.

A talk with Troy Sherman, the 2014-15 Student Centre Officer.

Written by: Sebastian Leck
Production: Kayla Thomson
Photos & Video: Arwin Chan, Kendra Pierroz, Queen's Archives
Graphics: Ashley Quan
Editing: Nick Faris, Vishmayaa Jeyamoorthy, 
Vincent Matak, Anisa Rawhani Queen's Journal 2015