Student residence to benefit community, U of W says

University to enhance food program as part of expansion

McFeetors Hall will be home to 176 students and 25 student families. Colin Vandenberg
Workers finish construction on the new building, which is slated to open in time for the start of fall classes. Colin Vandenberg
The south-east view of Langside Street from the new McFeetors Hall student residence. Colin Vandenberg

With just over three months to go before its official opening, McFeetors Hall is finally taking shape.

Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice chancellor of the University of Winnipeg, said that the community will benefit greatly from the new student residence, which is slated to have its official opening during homecoming in the fall.

“There is not a lot of conventional housing in the area,” Axworthy said. “Lack of appropriate housing is a real barrier to go back to school.”

McFeetors Hall will provide housing for 176 students and 25 student families and provide an opportunity for students and families to interact. Any student can apply to live there, regardless of school.

“The U of W is not a traditional university campus. It is one without walls,” Axworthy said. “We want it to be inclusive and not exclusive.”

The university will be partnering with the University of Winnipeg Students’ Association (UWSA) for the new neighbouring day care facility, which will double the existing childcare spaces and will be open to the community.

“The Spence Neighbourhood Association wrote us a letter of support for the new residence,” said Jennifer Rattray, director of strategic initiatives at the U of W.

Thanks to the new residence, there will be more people in the area, creating more foot traffic and increasing security as a result, Axworthy said.

The U of W is not a traditional university campus. It is one without walls.

Lloyd Axworthy, president and vice chancellor of the University of Winnipeg

The U of W will introduce mandatory meal plans for McFeetors residents, offering students various options according to their needs. When asked if long-time U of W food provider Chartwell’s will continue with the catering, Axworthy only said that the university intends to provide stronger support for food services.

“We want to diversify and enhance food services,” he said. According to a brochure, meal plan options for McFeetors will be a “balance between affordable, locally sourced, fresh, organic and culturally sensitive food.”

Sherri Pchajek, manager of campus living, said that McFeetors will have 19 rooms that will have rent geared towards low income individuals as well as two fully accessible two-bedroom units.

The residence will have two sun-drenched lounges complete with plasma televisions, foosball tables and wireless Internet. The hall will have laundry facilities, air conditioning and monitored security systems.

“Housing office staff, who had recently graduated, helped choose the color scheme,” Pchajek said, adding that it was important to have student input in the design of the hall.

“McFeetors will enhance student life and activities on campus,” Axworthy said, adding that the university has established a task force to create a broader recreation sports program at the university.

Published in Volume 63, Number 27 of The Uniter (May 20, 2009)

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