Degrees, UMFM, UMSU Vision under construction

While the second renovation to the Degrees restaurant over the past two years is currently underway, the UMFM station is also getting its first facelift since moving into the third-floor space in 1998.

UMSU President Heather Laube says that the $400,000+ renovations are slated to be finished at the beginning of August, with Degrees re-opening at the end of August, in time for students coming back to campus for fall classes.

“The project was initiated last summer to address potential health and safety concerns, improve efficiency and aesthetics and expand services, such as catering and take-out within Degrees,” said Laube.

Operations at UMFM are relatively slow during construction, but station manager Jared McKetiak says a relaxed program schedule is normal for UMFM during summers.

“Volunteers [and other contributors] need to organize around construction sometimes [ . . . ]. Over all, construction is not a huge inconvenience,” McKetiak said of how the construction has affected operations at the station.

He sited the construction schedule as a useful way for volunteers to develop their organizational skills in planning and putting together their shows around the new schedule.

The current radio booth will change its layout, upgrading its equipment and allowing for more specific setups, such as a roundtable interview to take place, and putting a sound monitor in view of the turntables for DJs.

A booth for phone interviews will be added and the radio station’s CD library will be more open, encouraging more varied use of the over 15,000 CDs.

A recording studio for bands will no longer be above a banquet hall, having caused problems for servers and musicians during university functions.

McKetiak mentioned the School of Music’s habit of bringing world-class musicians from around the world to campus, and would like to see them make use of the new recording space with students from the faculty.

“We’re going to re-launch ourselves, 13 years later,” said McKetiak.

Last year’s renovations improved the dining area of Degrees, and that part of the restaurant will not be changed further.

The Degrees’ renovations will include adding a walk-in cooler and bringing more storage space into the restaurant, as well as increasing the prep space in the kitchen. Until the renovations, Degrees had to make use of a cooler on the floor below the restaurant and storage space across the hall.

As Degrees’ kitchen expands into what was once UMFM space, UMFM will shift into what was previously a meeting room, which will also be the new home of UMSU Vision’s production space.

Laube told the Manitoban, “The renovation to Degrees, UMFM and Room 312 were approved through last year’s finance committee and UMSU council.”

Ian Cunningham, a student in the Faculty of Science, said that he found his eating options on campus limited over the summer without Degrees.

“Degrees is one of my favorite restaurants on campus [ . . . ] it has good, fresh food that’s also cheap too,” said Cunningham.

Floriam Labat, a student from France who is working at the university over the summer, remarked that he also found his eating options repetitive after the closure of Degrees.

“I’m tired of pizza, then Subway, then pizza, then Subway, because you want a change sometimes,” quipped Labat.

Renovations are set to be completed for August 23, 2010.