posted on Nov. 23: McMaster will have a presence in downtown core


The dream to have a McMaster presence in the downtown core will be realized now that the Hamilton Transition Board has approved a proposal for the University to lease the old Wentworth County courthouse.
The board voted 5-1 in favour of the plan on Tuesday (Nov. 21), which will mean some groups on the main campus will move to the Main St. West site in the coming months.

McMaster business professor and assistant vice-president information services & technology Marvin Ryder, who chairs the board, abstained from voting.

“It's very exciting,” said Karen Belaire, vice-president administration. “It's a great building and we will have a fabulous location. We're right on the 50-yard line with the best seat in the stadium.”

Belaire said she will be working with city staff to finalize the financial aspects of the deal.

Some departments, such as Continuing Education, have already expressed an interest in moving to the downtown site, Belaire said.

“I will be working with departments across campus who have expressed an interest in relocating,” she said. “There are principles we will be using to determine the best fit for programs and services to be located downtown.” (Principles are outlined at the end of this story.)

The Continuing Education proposal, which was distributed to transition board members, outlines a blueprint for a continuing education centre which will allow for a consolidation of many external life-long learning activities into one centre.

Consultation will now begin to determine a timeline for city and regional staff to move out and University staff to relocate in the former courthouse, Belaire said.

“One of the issues that came up was the concern that city staff have around moving out and the University moving in,” she said.

“The University staff will be asked to work with city staff for a mutually agreeable timeframe.”

Belaire said she anticipates there will be a phased-in approach to the move by university personnel.

“My understanding is that some space would be available in February and we would work forward from there.”

McMaster University Principles of Offsite Relocation

  1. The academic/administrative mandate would be enhanced by a community presence.
  2. The department/program will continue to meet the needs of students/staff/faculty.
  3. Operations would not be negatively impacted by being off campus.
  4. No construction of special facilities at an offsite location are required.
  5. The department works in an electronic environment that can be fulfilled in an offsite location.
  6. The cost of relocation is not prohibitive.
  7. (Principles presented to University Planning Committee, Nov. 15)