GPA’s officially reopens for business

Total cost of renovations to UMSU University Centre space estimated at $2.5 million

Following months of extensive renovations, the ribbon was cut and GPA’s Campus Convenience store was officially reopened for business Thursday.

The student union-owned space on the main floor of UMSU University Centre that includes the store, the UMSU offices and Answers had not seen major renovations since 1999. The store and offices reopened for business within the last month.

UMSU vice-president finance and operations Mbuli Matshe said the renovations were driven by student demand.

“A lot of what we changed in GPA’s was on the recommendation of students from a survey that we put out,” he said.

“They wanted more from GPA’s — not just in terms of quantity but in terms of variation and different goods and things that we supply there.”

He added that survey responses also raised issues of sustainability and the creation of more jobs on campus.

UMSU general manager Thomas Blumer noted that there are about 20 students currently employed by UMSU at GPA’s.

The store was expanded from 1,500 to 2,700 square feet.

Matshe said the larger space helps accommodate a larger selection of stock, including the healthier options that many students, faculty and staff asked for.

The project was pegged at an estimated cost of $2.5 million dollars. The final cost is not yet known.

Major renovations were also undertaken to improve the UMSU office space and Answers, which were amalgamated into a single desk in the UMSU office now branded the UMSU Service Centre.

Matshe said the reaction from students has been positive.

“With GPA’s we’ve had an increase [in usage],” he said.

“We had an estimation of revenue that we thought we were going to hit by this period in time, and we’ve exceeded that revenue [compared to] this time last year.

“In terms of Answers, as you can obviously see, the process has now been streamlined to a point where students can come in [and] we have more staff available to them.”

Matshe said UMSU will continue to collect feedback from students, faculty and staff.

“At the end of the semester we want to put a survey out which will get a more concrete review process of what the student experience actually is.”