SFSS considers more study space at Harbour Centre

Harbour Centre (pictured) will be the major beneficiary of the approximately $70,000 project. - Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The Simon Fraser Student Society (SFSS) is considering renovations to study space at the Harbour Centre campus in response to a recent student survey.

The survey run by the Vancouver Campus Administration, included student requests for more microwaves, space to sit, natural lighting, artwork on the walls, and power outlets. SFSS Board member and FCAT representative Salathiel Wells said the SFSS will try their best to meet student needs.

The current proposal is to renovate one of the second floor study areas near the escalators at Harbour Centre. Wells said they will improve lighting and add seating to create a lounge and study space. Based on student feedback on the changes, another area on the second floor will also be renovated.

The proposed renovations could cost up to $70,000 and will be co-funded by the SFSS and the university. Wells said the current proposal asks the SFSS to allocate $35,000 to the project.

Kylene Bugden, a fourth-year communication student, said the renovations are much needed. Bugden is taking all her classes at Harbour Centre this semester, and often studies at the downstairs food court or nearby coffee shops due to the lack of student space.

Most of the recent renovations at Harbour Centre, according to Bugden, have been to high-traffic study spaces near the entrance or outside busy lecture halls. She hopes the current proposal will meet student needs. She would like to see the SFSS get more involved in student life at the satellite campuses. Wells said this is a problem he and other board members are working to address.

“It has been taking a while for the SFSS to become accustomed to expanding its resources to the other campuses,” Wells said. He added that he and previous FCAT representatives have worked hard to get the SFSS to consider all campuses, not just Burnaby.

Wells said that the SFSS is often viewed as Burnaby-centric because of where its facilities and staff are based. He acknowledged however that this can change.

The SFSS is currently undergoing a governance restructuring which includes creating committees for each satellite campus. Wells thinks that a more structured way of engaging students at other campuses will help representatives, like himself, who advocate for students at all three campuses.

There are also plans to renovate three study spaces at the Surrey campus. If the motions are passed, all renovations will take place during the summer semester and the spaces          will likely be fully functional by the fall.