Arts Student Centre finds a new home within second phase of Brock Commons

After much debate about the location, the site for the Arts Student Centre’s (ASC) has been set at the northeast corner of East Mall and Walter Gage Road, as an addition to the Brock Commons Phase 2 site.

The building is scheduled for completion by September 2021.

The initial location in the Bosque faced mass criticism online from the UBC community spearheaded by the twitter account @BosqueUbc. Most of the criticism centred around the proposed removal of eight mature oak trees from the Bosque site to make room for the building.

In addition to the social media backlash, an online petition, which amassed nearly 1,000 signatures, also pushed President Ono to ask campus planners to reconsider the location back in May.

After consultation with stakeholders including the Arts Undergraduate Society (AUS), the AMS and Campus and Community Planning (C+CP), the decision was made to move the building from the Bosque and incorporate it into the Brock Commons Phase 2 site in front of the Allard School of Law.

Brock Commons Phase 2 will include two buildings of mixed-use residential, academic and recreation spaces. Both Brock Commons and the ASC were approved for development at the September 24 Board of Governors meeting, with the ASC being approved for a funding release of $750,000. The ASC will be presented again at the December Board meeting for Board 2 approval.

According to Yash Gurnani, an AUS representative and chair of the ASC project, the consultation on the new site was thorough.

“First, Campus and Community Planning set up a new Building Site Selection Committee. For us, it’s been our third iteration of this,” said Gurnani.

“At that particular committee, we had myself, people from UBC Campus and Community Planning, UBC Properties Trust, the AMS design office, the faculty of arts and Allard Law School. We sat down and reviewed five prospective sites.”

According to Associate VP of C+CP Michael White and C+CP Director of Planning and Design Gerry McGeough, projects such as the ASC always entail rigorous consultation.

To account for the loss of Allard Law School’s parking lot and a portion of its field area, C+CP promises a “new, usable, sunny green space” off East Mall and welcomes continued community feedback.

“UBC carefully considers how to fit new development into the fabric of the campus in ways that minimize the ecological, cultural and aesthetic impact of the loss of green space and trees,” said McGeough and White in an emailed statement to The Ubyssey.

“In many cases where infill development has occurred, we have successfully preserved our most mature trees to the benefit of both the project and the campus at large as well as add new green spaces.”

AUS President Kat Aquino also voiced her enthusiasm regarding the building’s proximity to the faculty of arts academic precinct in the Buchanan complex, the student services and student life precinct at Brock Hall as well as the Bus Exchange.

“I can say that the closer proximity to the services that will be built in that area is pretty exciting,” said Aquino.