The McGill Bookstore will be repurposed to house the expansion of the Desautels Faculty of Management in Winter 2016 in a move to address the faculty’s space deficit, confirmed Vice President Michael Di Grappa at this weekend’s homecoming. The future location of the bookstore has yet to be decided.
“There is going to be a series of studies we will have to undertake to look at the bookstore’s needs in the short term […] the service that we provide to students and members of the community, and finding better ways to meet the different needs of those people,” Di Grappa said.
Apart from a physical location, the university will also aim towards a larger online presence for its campus bookstore, looking at other university bookstores in North America for reference.
“There [are] different ways of offering merchandise, different ways of having an online business, trying to deliver textbooks to students,” Di Grappa said. “There are different things that have been done in other institutions, so we’ll be looking at that in the next little while [….] We’ll [also] be looking at our other ancillary services that we provide, like printing [and] parking [.…] So the idea [is] of creating a hub where people from the community could go to one location to address all those needs, whether it’s a physical location, or […] an online presence.”
The Desautels Faculty of Management building was designed for about 1,500 students, according to Di Grappa, yet it currently houses around 2,500 students. The project to address the faculty’s physical needs has been in the works for approximately four years, according to Di Grappa, although the possibility of expanding into the bookstore was not looked at until around four months ago.
“There have been a number of studies, a number of locations that have been looked at the past,” Di Grappa said. “After reviewing different options this seemed to be the most logical fit, without talking about the wholesale relocation of the faculty somewhere else […] this seemed to make the most sense because it’s in an adjoining building.”
The funds that will kickstart the expansion of the faculty were donated to the university by Marcel Desautels, former head of a commercial credit and debt recovery bureau and honorary McGill doctorate. Desautels, namesake of the faculty, previously made a $22 million donation to the university’s business school.
“The expansion of the Faculty of Management will be funded largely through philanthropy,” Di Grappa said. “It’s going to allow us to invest the funds necessary to undertake the renovations and undertake the redesign of the bookstore building.”
According to Di Grappa, the university aims to move the Faculty of Management into the new location within two years.
“The decision has been made,” he said. “Now we are going to hire architects [and] engineers to do the more detailed planning work for the bookstore and translate the needs to the physical space. At the same time, we’re going to have a look at the bookstore and its needs for the future.”