Community gives feedback on new UVic residence buildings

Expanded service route behind SUB and potential temporary dining hall among the new additions

Architectural rendering accessed via uvic.ca

A week after the Premier announced plans for a 25 per cent increase in student housing at UVic, the university held their second open house event of the year on Nov. 21 in the McPherson library to receive feedback from the students and community on the proposed project.

“We’re continuing to refine the building design, so we’re now in the design and development phase,” said Director of Campus Planning and Sustainability Mike Wilson. “This is really sharing with the community the final plans before we submit an application to the district of Saanich.”

The previous open house, which occured in June, highlighted the two new residence buildings: ‘Ring Road’ and ‘Cadboro Commons’, and also gave the community a glimpse into the plans for the new ‘Grand Promenade’ — an outdoor walking and cycling route that will link the residence area of campus to the quad.

The university is projecting to open the first residence building by 2022 before opening the second building by 2024.

After receiving community feedback from the summer open house, which Wilson said resulted in “a lot of support for the project,” the fall open house was designed to get more opinions from students back on campus.

“We are planning for the temporary shortage of 162 beds on campus from 2020 to 2022.”

Of note in the November open house was the university’s plan to ensure the project will run on schedule. They also shared plans for a temporary dining facility, which will feed students while the construction of the buildings is being completed.

The temporary dining hall could potentially be placed in a parking lot close to residence. If it  is constructed there, other reserved parking areas on campus will have to accommodate for the resulting loss of 58 reserved parking places on campus.

UVic is also planning on extending the service road running from Sinclair road to the SUB by 1.5 metres to provide access for construction and eventually food deliveries for the new buildings.

With the construction of the new buildings comes the inevitable demolition of some existing infrastructure. The plans include tearing down the current raised sidewalks that connect the Emily Carr and Margaret Newton residence buildings, and the Craigdarroch Office Building, to Cadboro Commons.

“We’re looking at ways we can accelerate construction,” said Wilson. “We’re going to have to widen [the] service road, so we’re looking to do that next summer. We’re also looking at doing some selective removal of some of [the] concrete walkways … It [will] just help speed up work and … make sure the project is on time and we can have students moving in [by] September of 2022.”

Since the project will involve the demolition of the Emily Carr and Margaret Newton buildings, the university is looking at ways to ensure that students still have a place to live due to the temporary shortage of beds on campus.

Because the new residence buildings will comply with the LEED gold certification standard, they will need to divert a minimum of 75 per cent of waste from the landfill.

“We are planning for the temporary shortage of 162 beds on campus from 2020 to 2022,” said Director of Residence Services Kathryn MacLeod in an email to the Martlet. “To address the shortage, UVic is also investigating temporarily adding beds to some of the larger single rooms.”

MacLeod said the university will also help students transition to off-campus housing — partially thanks to a partnership with non-profit organization Ready to Rent B.C.

“This temporary shortage will not affect the first-year guarantee, but some upper-year students wanting to live on campus may be affected.”

The university is in the early stages of figuring out what to do with the material from the old residence buildings. Because the new residence buildings will comply with the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification standard, they will need to divert a minimum of 75 per cent of waste from the landfill — this includes materials from both the demolition and construction.

Construction on the Sinclair service road is slated to start in the summer of 2019, while major work on the building sites will begin in 2020.

With files from Anna Dodd.

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