Renovations to campus buildings ongoing

Facilities management report Gairdner and Barclay construction to be completed by 2018

If you have been on campus, you have probably seen and heard the renovations taking place. The Barclay and Gairdner buildings have been undergoing renovations since June 2017 to update their infrastructure and improve accessibility. The goal of the renovations is to improve the learning environment of both of the buildings.

“The changes to the Barclay and Gairdner buildings will increase the capacity for experiential learning through upgrades of life science, environmental science and chemistry research and teaching spaces,” said Prof. Amanda Cockshutt, dean of sciences.

Cockshutt said the Gairdner building is being repurposed into a space for interdisciplinary and collaborative learning between the environmental and life sciences.

In addition, “renovations to the Barclay building will see all research and teaching spaces updated to increase accessibility and improve the building systems to reduce its carbon footprint,” said Cockshutt. “Students and researchers will be able to perform their experiments in a more healthy and safe environment.”

Neil MacEachern, director of facilities management, said that these renovation projects are being supported by the Federal Government Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. He also mentioned Barclay will be updated with gender-neutral washrooms and accessibility upgrades. Gairdner’s accessibility is also being improved.

The total cost for the project is $18.75 million. $9.75 million is being covered by the provincial and federal government. The rest is funded by the University maintenance and renovation budget.

Some students are frustrated about the impact of the construction on their learning. “I think it’s great that our university is actively trying to improve the campus,” second-year student Sage Shaheen said. “But it is strange to me that while paying nearly $30,000 of tuition a year, I cannot even hear my professor teaching – even in a tiny class of 20 to 25 students in the Barclay building. I find it completely unreasonable to put us as students in that position, especially when we are here for the purpose of getting a quality education.”

The construction has fenced off some areas around campus and made it more difficult for students to get around. Fourth-year drama studies student Sabrina Stace said, “It crushes my soul having to walk up the hill to the library instead of just taking the stairs.”

The renovations are set to be completed by the start of the 2018 academic year. While the construction irritates some students now, they will have to wait to see whether these changes are worth the noise.

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