Loyola campus’ future expansion sparks concerns for residents, faculty, and students
On Feb. 23, a panel of Concordia representatives and Notre-Dame-de-Grâce borough councillors gathered at the Loyola Jesuit Hall and Conference Centre to reveal their master plan for the expansion of Concordia’s Loyola Campus to residents of the area, faculty members, and students alike.
This long-term project is aimed at enhancing campus infrastructure, interior, and exterior environments, as well as increasing mobility and the amount of green space available.
“We are back [in-person] and need more classrooms, labs, and spaces,” said Dominique Dumont, director of strategic planning and development at Concordia. She clarified that while the team working on this project “cannot [yet] provide answers about when and where” these additional spaces will be added, the master plan is intended to serve as a guide for future endeavours.
The master plan project first began in August 2020. “It’s been three years that we are in consultation with the city of Montreal,” said Marie-Claude Lavoie, associate vice-president of the facilities management department.
In the first stage, the team assessed the needs for the Loyola campus and reviewed municipal regulations. The second stage focused on outlining the project’s guidelines to preserve key heritage sites across campus. Currently, the team is halfway through the third phase. At this time, they are seeking feedback for their current campus development plans. The fourth and final stage will release a finalized development plan and outline the steps moving forward to enact the plan.
According to Rocio Carvajo Lucena, the project’s architect, the team aims to incorporate an indoor parking space for students, outdoor classrooms and fitness equipment, as well as more entry walkways for bikes and pedestrians. Project leaders are also working with key community members and upholding the University’s Indigenous Directions Action Plan by incorporating inclusive signage and planting Indigenous plants, as well as its Sustainability Action Plan through the inclusion of more green spaces, said Carvajo Lucena .
Nonetheless, NDG residents, Concordia students, and faculty members alike have expressed their criticisms of the project. During the question period, several residents raised their concerns about the expansion of the campus. Some were concerned that the expansion could potentially reduce street parking spots. Others were concerned about the potential for noise pollution caused by the construction in an otherwise quiet neighbourhood.
Others expressed their worries about the plan’s neglect for the Loyola daycare Centre de la Petite Enfance P’tits Profs. While the panel clarified that the daycare would not be expropriated, former Concordia student and communications advisor for the University Elena Raznovan expressed her disappointment for the lack of consultation with the daycare prior to the conference. The panel encourages all community members to provide their input via a survey they set up to complete the last part of phase three, which will remain open until March 31.