Welcome to construction

Six major projects will keep the University under constant construction when students return

The Tearoom, a new coffee shop in the Integrated Learning Commons, is one of many sites under construction on campus.
The Tearoom, a new coffee shop in the Integrated Learning Commons, is one of many sites under construction on campus.

Wayne Gow, ArtSci ’06, still remembers waking up in residence to the sound of jackhammers.

“The noise level at times was unbearable during the day and started promptly at 7 a.m., and went right until dinnertime,” he said. Gow was a resident in Leonard Hall during the 2002-03 construction of Leonard Cafeteria. He said the disturbances encouraged him to familiarize himself with the University campus. “Sure, it was an inconvenience to study in a building that was constantly a source of extremely loud noises and building vibrations, but that encouraged me to check out other spaces on campus to study,” he said, adding that he still had a good first year.

This year, all students will have new construction to contend with, and there’s a good chance they may not be around long enough to see much of the end result.

The Queen’s Centre

This year, all undergraduate students will pay $71.50 to help the University construct a $230 million student centre, arena, track, gymnasium, pool and a new Faculty of Physical and Health Education building. With construction delayed until next spring, it is likely that current students will only get to see the new buildings when they return for Homecoming.

Road closures and a demolished ice rink are only the beginning of what students can expect from the construction of the Queen’s Centre.

The project is expected to take 15 years, but has already been delayed twice.

Pat Caulfeild, Physical Plant Services construction manager, said the first step to the project is to prepare the surrounding area.

“There are city services on Clergy Street that need to be moved onto University Avenue. These include water, power and sewer systems being dug up,” he said. “This project will continue until November, so there will be road closures to be expected.” Although the University wanted to sell several Clergy Street houses for one dollar, Caulfield said that none of them were sold.

“Unfortunately nobody has seen the sale of houses for one dollar as financially viable,” he said. “There has been interest, but nobody has been able to do it.” Caulfeild said the houses, along with the Kingston Curling Club, will be demolished in the fall. Following the demolition on Clergy Street, the University plans to take down Jock Harty Arena and begin construction on a new physical education building in summer 2007.

The first phase of construction will see the completion of a new physical education centre and the faculty of Physical and Health Education building, expected to open in 2009.

“Current sport services will stay up and open until then, the only facility lost temporarily will be the ice rinks,” Caulfeild said.

Caulfeild added that students should expect the construction to cause some disturbances.

University Avenue

Students hoping to avoid disruptions from noise and construction may be in luck, as the University Avenue project is unlikely to begin until next summer.

“Work was supposed to have started in June, but that hasn’t happened for a number of reasons. Now we are discussing whether to postpone the project to next summer,” he said. “There is concern that starting work now would cause disruptions for students in September. Obviously, it isn’t easy being in class with people digging up the street right outside.” Thanks to private donations, major changes are in store for University Avenue.

“Some donors asked what the University wanted to improve with regards to landscaping,” Caulfeild said. “University Avenue used to be a grand street, but it has become run down, trees have died, and it needs to be restored,” he said. “The intent is to bring it back to its former grandeur.” Before the landscaping phase of the project can begin, Caulfeild said, the University needs to replace underground sewer, water and power systems from Union Street to Stuart Street.

“Of course, it doesn’t make sense to be putting in new sidewalks, trees, flowers, and improving aesthetics without first replacing the old, worn out underground infrastructure,” he said.

Food Services

Anyone studying in Stauffer Library will see the construction of the Library Café first-hand.

Bruce Griffiths, director of Residence and Hospitality Services, said the café is expected to open around Thanksgiving. “The café will not be ready when students get back. It’s in the design phase right now,” he said.

Griffiths also said the construction won’t be a disruption to students studying in Stauffer.

The café will provide fancier choices to students, Griffiths said.

“The café is a gourmet coffee outlet. It will serve items like cappuccinos, smoothies and pastries,” he said, adding that the space will be music-free and equipped with wireless internet. . . .

One service that will open in September is the EngSoc Tea Room, a new coffee shop in Beamish Munro Hall.

Dan Bodley, Sci ’08 and VP (Services) for EngSoc, said the Tea Room is focused on sustainability. “It’s based on three ideas: sustainable business practices, environmentalism and education,” he said. “The Tea Room is really the first sustainable initiative that we have on campus. It’s an experiment in those kind of practices.” Bodley said the Tea Room will offer more than just your basic cup of coffee. “We will be serving fair trade coffee, espresso drinks, loose leaf teas, fresh sandwiches and desserts,” he said. . . .

Queen’s Food Services is opening the Lazy Scholar in the lower common room in Victoria Hall in September. Griffiths said the service will be a new meeting place for incoming frosh. “Students wanted a place to go later at night to eat and use their meal plan. We created a gathering place with food services,” he said. According to Griffiths, the Lazy Scholar will stand out from other food services on campus. “Students will be looking at a unique menu, different from the [cafeterias] and the Fireside Grill,” he said. “There will also be pool, ping pong and widescreen TVs.” While returning students may mourn the loss of Rez Express, which is closing to make way for the Lazy Scholar, Griffiths said everyone is welcome in the Lazy Scholar. “The café will be open to all students and accepts cash as well as meal plans,” he said.

Student Services

Students will also notice changes to the location of many student services in September. Gordon Hall, Richardson Hall and Magillivray-Brown Hall are all undergoing renovations. Caulfeild said that Gordon Hall, located at 74 Union Street, has been completely renovated and is now completed.

“It will now house student services, including the registrar and career planning and placement,” he said. “Career planning services were temporarily in Magillavry-Brown, and the registrar was temporarily in Richardson Hall.” The University took advantage of the registrar’s relocation to update their former home. “[Richardson Hall] is a fifty-year-old building and has never had any attention given to it,” he said. “With the registrar moving out, it seemed like the right time for improvement and replacement of old heating and ventilation systems.” Caulfeild said that he hoped Richardson Hall would be finished and ready to house student services by September 2008.

“The eventual occupants of Richardson Hall will be the Principal and Vice-Principals, Research Services, University Secretariat, Institutional Research and Planning, Budget Office, Risk Management and Audit Services and Investment Services,” he said.

The Queen’s Centre Summarized

Phase 1: Athletic Facilities

  • Construction begins November 2006
  • Expected completion September 2009
  • Project budget: $150 million
  • Cost per student: $72 per year in student fees
  • Located between Union Street, University Street, Earl Street and Division Street

The centre will eventually include:

  • Five interconnected buildings surrounded by courtyards
  • A six-lane track
  • An Olympic-sized arena
  • A 25-metre pool
  • Eight basketball courts
  • Larger gathering spaces
  • Fitness and aerobic space
  • Locker room
  • Food services
  • Student government and services
  • School of Physical and Health Education

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