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Photo by Nyhoff Architecture

MacHall Ballroom gearing up for summer business

By Mariah Wilson, May 27 2019 —

Stuck in a time warp of dated wood paneling and incandescent lighting, the MacHall Ballroom was in dire need of a makeover.

In 2018, the 75th Students’ Legislative Council recognized the need for a cosmetic and structural overhaul of this space and set aside an extra budgetary expenditure of $2 million for these renovations.

The Ballroom hasn’t had any significant renovations since being built in 1969, so there was a considerable amount of work that had to be done to bring it in into the 21st century — both aesthetically and regulation-wise.  

“There’s a lot of different factors as to why these renovations came forward to the 75th SLC,” said current vice-president operations and finance Omer Mansoor. “I think it was a lot to do with safety.”

Ryan Wallace, 75th vice-president operations and finance, echoed these sentiments in 2018 when he cited reports of insulation falling from the ceiling, holes in the floor, accessibility concerns and a faulty sound system in the Ballroom.

Ultimately, the Ballroom wasn’t serving the needs of the people who wished to use it.

Now, after six months of renovations, the Ballroom is a completely unrecognizable space. The return on investment on the space has already been well-noted by the Students’ Union with the Ballroom’s booking calendar filling up for the upcoming summer months.

Photo courtesy Gene Baines.

“Since the renovations have occurred, this is actually one of the first times we can do multiple concerts at the same time — both in the Ballroom and the MacHall general concert hall — whereas we couldn’t do that before due to sound issues,” said Mansoor.

This will generate more revenue for MacHall and provide more options for corporate rentals.

Mansoor mentioned that the modernized look of the ballroom has been well-received by the campus, especially student clubs and faculties, and believes that there will be a lot more student-focused programming.

He’s extremely pleased with how the renovations turned out and mentioned that his favourite part of the space is the updated lighting.

“You can completely change how the space looks through the lighting,” said Mansoor. “You can speed it up, slow it down, change the colours. There’s so many options.”

While the exact cost of the entire renovation isn’t in yet — small tweaks still need to be made to the space — Mansoor expects the final tally to be in within the next few months.

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