Limited resources hamper launch of U of S architecture program

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Plans to create a school of architecture at the University of Saskatchewan suffered a setback this month when a university committee said that while it appreciates the proposed program, it cannot recommend its approval. until sufficient funding is obtained.

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“Concerns have been expressed about the resources for the proposed programs, especially given the current financial situation in which the U of S finds itself,” the university programs committee said in a report to the 116-member board. the university, which oversees academic matters.

The school would offer two degrees, a bachelor’s degree in design in architecture and a master’s degree in architecture; it would have 11 faculty members and cost “a little more” than $ 3 million per year, plus significant start-up costs, according to the report.

The university plans to introduce the programs since 2010, when the city of Saskatoon donated the 108-year-old John Deere Plow Co. building to the institution for this purpose. The report said renovations to the building would increase start-up costs.

“I’m generally optimistic,” said Colin Ripley, the program director hired to move the project forward, at the Saskatoon StarPhoenix in February. “The (John Deere Building) needs to be basically gutted and completely renovated for this to happen.”

The university, meanwhile, is grappling with a five percent – $ 18 million – cut in its $ 312 million operating grant from the Saskatchewan Party government in its unpopular 2017 budget. -2018.

It responded by slashing its budget for university services and programs by $ 12.2 million, and offering buyouts and early retirement packages to some unionized staff.

Former U of S rector Michael Atkinson called the situation “catastrophic,” but university president Peter Stoicheff said the institution would not be defined by its current financial problems.

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The committee said that although its “members were impressed with the vision, scope and academic merits of the proposal,” they were “unable to recommend that Council approve it when important questions of resources and physical location are pending “.

The proposed school of architecture made its way through what Ripley described as a long series of committee approvals. If the green light was given, it would operate under the aegis of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The university council is expected to receive but not discuss the report at its next meeting on October 19.

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