Students at Simon Fraser University (SFU) will have a massive new space to study, socialize, and relax by the summer of 2019.
Construction on the new $55-million, 111,000-sq-ft Student Union Building (SUB) at the campus atop the Burnaby Mountain began in June 2016, and it was originally slated for an opening in time for the start of the new school year in fall 2018.
But Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS), the university’s student union organization, says the year-long delays with opening the building were largely beyond the control of the university and the contractors.
“Two winters with heavy snowfall, especially December 2016, slowed down concrete pouring and underground work. The construction crews have been unable to make up this lost time,” Jasdeep Gill, Vice-President of External Relations for SFSS, told Daily Hive.
“The construction market in Metro Vancouver is very busy and, in many areas, there are more jobs than workers, slowing down the pace of construction.”
Excavation of the SUB’s site, located on the south side of Freedom Square between the Maggie Benston Centre and the Academic Quadrangle, also took longer than planned as the soils were not what was expected based on geotechnical test drilling conducted prior to the start of construction.
As well, some of the building’s unique components are being manufactured overseas and could not be ordered until some design details were worked out. Delivery of these components will be take months, and the building cannot be completed without these components.
“The SFSS is not willing to compromise quality of construction in order to open the building sooner,” said Gill. “The building needs to last for many generations of students and it needs to be well built.”
And Gill certainly believes the new SUB will be worth the wait.
Spanning five levels, the new facility includes quiet study and group study spaces, lounges, food and retail, dining areas, a gamers 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.
There will also be a community kitchen, rehearsal rooms for dance and music practices, student club offices, a 3,200-sq-ft shared space for student clubs to use, and meeting and multi-use spaces, including a ballroom on the top floor with spectacular views of the North Shore mountains.
“The student union building represents the power of student involvement in the SFU community. Students have led the project from its inception through to construction and have agreed to fund the project through their student fees. They have made a substantial commitment to improving student life at SFU for generations to come,” added Gill.
“We hope that the SUB will give students more space to create and host new, inclusive and diverse opportunities to engage with each other. Our vision is to foster a vibrant campus life through meaningful and shared experiences for all students.”
The student fee-funded building is designed by local architectural firm Perkins + Will, and a LEED Gold green building standard is targeted.
SFSS is accepting building name submissions for the new SUB from now until September 30, 2018.