SFU Burnaby's new $55 million Student Union Building finally opening next month

Jul 15 2021, 4:15 pm

Originally slated to open three years ago, the new Student Union Building (SUB) atop Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Burnaby Mountain campus will finally open late next month, just in time for the start of the new school year.

Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), the entity representing the university’s students and the operator of the SUB facility, unanimously voted in a meeting on Wednesday to open the building on Monday, August 23, 2021.

“I would like to thank all the SFSS staff members, councillors, and the various Executive Committee members who led the various working groups to make sure the different areas of this opening plan were really captured in a way that will make our opening inclusive and accessible,” said SFSS president Gabe Liosis in a statement.

The opening date of this building — serving community gathering, socializing, and study space needs — was repeatedly pushed, initially due to construction delays and then the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was originally slated to open in Fall 2018, then later to Summer 2019, and again moved to March 2020. Construction on the project first began in June 2016.

sfu student union building construction september 2020

September 2020 state of the completed new Student Union Building at SFU Burnaby. (Submitted)

sfu student union building construction september 2020

September 2020 state of the completed new Student Union Building at SFU Burnaby. (Submitted)

In September 2019, SFSS leaders told Daily Hive Urbanized the SUB was over 90% complete at the time, with construction reaching full completion by December 2019.

They said harsh weather conditions during the construction window’s first two winters slowed down concrete pouring and underground work. As well, the project’s contractor, Pro-Can Construction Group, had difficulty finding enough workers to build the project by 2018.

Although the SUB experienced significant delays, the cost of the project has not increased due to a fixed-price contract. The university administration managed the contractor and consultants on behalf of SFSS.

sfu student union building construction september 2020

September 2020 state of the completed new Student Union Building at SFU Burnaby. (Submitted)

Students approved the financing and construction of the SUB in a vote in 2015. It had a turnout of 546 registered students, with 86% approving debentures. In the same vote, 80% also supported debentures to fund the stadium grandstand addition to Terry Fox Field, which reached completion early in 2021.

As well, full-time and part-time students pay $80 and $40, respectively, each year in student fees — called the “Build SFU Levy” — towards the cost of building both the SUB and the 1,800-seat stadium.

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Designed by architectural firm Perkins & Will, the SUB is located on the south side of Freedom Square between the Maggie Benston Centre and the Academic Quadrangle.

The 110,000 sq ft facility spanning five levels provides the campus with much-needed common areas for students, with the interior spaces organized around a central atrium.

It includes quiet study and group study spaces, lounges, food and retail, dining areas, a gaming lounge for playing video games, a recreational room with pool tables and ping pong tables, and a napping room with lounge chairs and modular sofas.

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Other features entail a community kitchen, rehearsal rooms for dance and music practices, student club offices, a 3,200 sq ft shared space for student clubs, and meeting and multi-use rooms, including a ballroom on the top floor with spectacular views of the North Shore mountains. The SUB is designed to a LEED Gold green building standard.

The SUB’s initial operating hours will be daily from 8 am to 11 pm. COVID-19 safe protocols include regular enhanced cleaning, and limiting the size of events.

The first day of classes for the new school year at SFU Burnaby is September 8, 2021. Post-secondary institutions across BC are resuming full in-class instruction at their campuses in September.

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Simon Fraser University Student Union Building SFU

Artistic rendering of the new Student Union Building at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby Mountain campus. (Perkins + Will / SFSS)

Kenneth ChanKenneth Chan

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