The Queen Maragaret Union (QMU) has undergone an extensive refurbishment over the summer, including the long overdue removal of asbestos from the building.
The 1960’s premises has seen a redesign of the ground and second floors under the new QMU President, Calum McInnes. The work seeks to make better use of the available space, as well as introducing a sit-down restaurant on the top floor to tempt custom away from nearby Ashton Lane.
McInnes expressed excitement about the Union’s new look and the prospect of getting Freshers to join. He said: “We get one chance every year to appeal to a new audience and we’re giving ourselves the best chance we can. We’re investing money, staff and time and the University is right behind us.”
The ground floor shop has become a large tearoom with seating, whilst the shop itself is now located on the right as you enter the building. On the top floor, the Food Factory will shrink by a third to create the restaurant.
McInnes explains to setup on the third floor: “The left side of the third floor will stay the same: similar menu, just smaller. But on the right, we’re creating a seated restaurant. Designed to compete with Ashton Lane, we’ll offer two mains and a bottle of wine for less than twenty quid.”
The restaurant, to be named Scran, is due to open later in the semester.
Adopting the 2012-13 committee’s visions, the current board are trying to strengthen the position of the Union on campus, particularly after their block grant was withheld at the beginning of last year.
During his election campaign last semester, McInnes proposed bar refits but admits his plans have faded in light of recent works. He said: “One step at a time. I’m still keen to renovate the bars, but there’s lots of money being spent right now.”
The cost of the sizable renovation is as yet unclear, but both the Union and University have been working in tandem to have the works completed by Freshers’ Week. Estates and Buildings have been involved with the project, as the removal of asbestos falls under general housekeeping. The issue of asbestos in the building had been raised by previous QMU committees.
It is hoped that along with enticing QMU devotees and new students, clubs and societies can benefit from the modernised social spaces.