Queen’s opens new Albert Street residence

Residence caters to accessibility needs

The new Albert St. Residence houses 324 students.

By the end of this week, first-year Queen’s students will be calling the university’s newest residence at 156 Albert Street home. 

Construction began in October 2020 and concluded on Aug. 23, completed within the project’s $57.5 million budget approved by the Board of Trustees in 2019. It costs students $17,593 per year to live in residence in Albert Street.

The five-story residence consists of 334 semi-private suites in total—10 rooms belonging to Residence Life student staff. Each floor is complete with three common spaces for studying, doing laundry, and socializing.

“Many of the features were included on recommendations made by the internal accessibility committee, which is made up of members of the Queen’s community with accessibility needs,” Leah Wales, executive director (housing and ancillary services), told The Journal.

The residence has spacious suites for students with mobility needs, two elevators, and a service animal washing station. The Indigenous Gathering Space, located in the inner courtyard, features a turtle shell inlay designed by local Indigenous artist David Miracle.

“Something unique is a promotion of alternative transportation,” Associate Vice-Principal of Facilities John Witjes said. “There’s bike storage in the basement that's encouraging the students to use their bikes.”

Albert Street is tucked away behind two heritage homes to preserve the traditional Kingston streetscape. The homes, which previously housed Queen’s clubs and services, have been repurposed into study spaces, a prayer room, and a yoga and meditation area.

“We want students in other residences to be able to access the amenities [in Albert Street],” Wales said. “We are still discussing how to do that safely.”

The Albert Street building meets the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification, which Witjes described as a “difficult” achievement. LEED awards projects for environmentally friendly decisions made throughout the construction process.

“There were a lot of challenges because there was a price escalation and supply chain disruption,” Witjes said in an interview with The Journal.

The new residence includes environmentally friendly features, such as thermally efficient glass and efficiency monitors reducing water and energy usages. During construction, utilizing recycled materials was a point of emphasis.

“We’re turning our attention towards updating other existing residences,” Wales added. “Albert Street will help us maintain capacity for residences while we take beds offline to renovate other buildings, starting with the JDUC.”

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