SFU Burnaby is undergoing a Plaza Renewal Project. The Peak sat down for an interview with the project manager, James Bremner, to find out more about the ongoing construction.
Bremner explained that there are two phases of the project, both of which are well underway. Phase 1 involves the construction going on in the AQ, and is expected to be finished by late November 2019. Phase 2 includes the construction in Convocation Mall, the fountain square, and the transportation centre, and is expected to be done by October 2020.
Bremner noted that in the meantime, convocation ceremonies will not be disturbed. The area that is currently being worked on in front of the stage in the Convocation Mall will be completed in early June before convocation.
While the stage will still be under construction, the contractors will install temporary tiles on the stage to allow convocation to occur as normal. The full stage will be re done and completed for October convocation.
Bremner explained that the project will beautify the space, including getting rid of old furnishings and fixing cracks in the tiles. According to Bremner, the project aims to show “a sense of the importance that the place has, the Convocation Mall and AQ are very significant to SFU [ . . . ] this is the spine of the campus.”
In addition to creating a nicer space on campus, Bremner explained that this project is very much necessary from a practical perspective. The project will replace waterproofing, replace outdoor paving, upgrade stairway and ramp finishings, and improve drainage, according to documents that Bremner shared with The Peak.
In terms of accessibility, Bremner said they have a gate located in the Convocation Mall manned where students with accessibility needs can be escorted through by a contractor.
He noted that they have worked with the Centre for Accessible Learning and with Student Central to make sure that the signage is adequate and that students are aware of these pathways.
According to an SFU News report that addresses noise complaints, they have “adjusted the times for [noisy activities] to outside of peak study, lecture, and office hours.”
Bremner elaborated on this to The Peak, explaining that they have adjusted construction schedules so that the noisy work, including concrete chipping and drilling, is completed outside the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 10 p.m. Additionally, they are aware of exam schedules and will be sure to not make noise during that time.
When the project is done, “there is going to be a lot more opportunities for seating, planting, a lot more space where students can potentially go and enjoy the plaza [ . . . ] previously there was [sic] a flat, barren surface,” said Bremner. He added that it will be a better space to host meetings and events.
The renovation is designed to have a 50-year lifespan. “The benefit is not just for people using it today and tomorrow, it’s going to be the students that aren’t even born and alive yet that are coming here,” said Bremner.
“I think it’s a really good project for the campus and I’m really excited about seeing it come to fruition finally at the end of next year.”