AQ bathrooms renovated

By Benedict Reiners

After approximately four months of construction, the washroom renovations in the Southeast AQ near completion. The renovations, which involved the demolition of old infrastructure as well as upgrades, were completedon three facilities in question: a male and a female washroom, in addition to one private unisex washroom, all in compliance with accessibility requirements. These washrooms should be opened to the public this week.
“The washrooms in the AQ were chosen as they are some of the most heavily used washrooms on campus and were also some of the oldest and in most need of repair,” said Larry Waddell, director of facilities development. He added that, although these were the washrooms with the greatest need of repair, there were still many others that also needed similar repairs elsewhere on the Burnaby campus. “Planning and design work is underway to renovate the washrooms located in the northeast section of the AQ near the Renaissance, and the washrooms in the southwest corner of the AQ. This work is planned to take place this summer.”
However, this work did not come without cost. Sources indicate that the recent renovations cost the university approximately $375,000, all while, as SFSS university relations officer Marc Fontaine pointed out, the provincial government has been making cuts to available funding for such projects. “Several years ago, the provincial government [cut SFU’s] annual capital allowance $6.5 million to $0.5 million, not nearly enough to address deferred maintenance of campus buildings,” Fontaine reported.
In addition to this, the opening of the newly renovated AQ washrooms has been delayed as a result of issues regarding the building permit, which, although initially approved, was later mandated by the city building inspector to be changed to include entry doors from the corridor. Despite these setbacks, the washrooms are set to open this week.
While these renovations have been going on, the SFSS has also been doing some of their own renovations in the Maggie Benson Center to the washrooms under the Higher Grounds Coffee Shop and the Highlands Pub. This project is set to be the last for the time being by the SFSS in terms of washroom renovations, as it is intended to bring the last of those under the SFSS jurisdiction into good condition. “In terms of washrooms that are under the jurisdiction of the SFSS, our facilities are now all in excellent condition. The upper pub washrooms were renovated as part of the recent pub renovations and two other washrooms near the SFSS conference rooms are relatively newer than others on campus,” said Fontaine.
As the last of the planned washroom renovations by the SFSS for the time being, the upgrade is smaller than the project just completed in the AQ, only covering two smaller washrooms, a male and a female. As a result of this, the project will only cost the SFSS approximately $112,000, a little under a third of the cost of the AQ renovations. This money is coming from the SFSS expansion fund, a fund set aside to pay for building upgrades and renovations under society jurisdiction. The planning for this project took place from April to December, and building started in January. The renovation is projected to be completed in March.
However, outside of the SFSS jurisdiction, there is much work that remains to be done on the aging washrooms throughout the university, and there will be much work on such projects as the university moves forward, projected Fontaine. “The university itself is continuing to undertake [the] renovation of its own washrooms around campus, especially in the AQ. These projects take a lot of time and money but I am proud to say that the university’s senior administration is aware of the issue and taking action.”