New student centre on track to open by late 2019

Though you may not have heard about it lately, the new student building at SAIT is well on its way to becoming a reality in three years.

The project is to be completed in late 2019, the same time renovations are to be completed on the existing Campus Centre, which now houses SAITSA operations, says SAITSA’s communications co-ordinator Shona Sutherland.

The two buildings are to be joined by a pedestrian bridge, Sutherland said in an interview.

SAITSA approved plans for its new headquarters last year, after a student referendum in November, 2015 approved the project.

“After years of student surveys, consultations, meetings and research, it has been determined that SAIT students want a space of their own,” said former SAITSA President Brigitte Matheson in a video posted to the association’s website.

Since the referendum, planning has continued, with the design being completed and approved by SAITSA.

Through outreach projects and focus groups, input from students and staff at SAIT has been used to decide what will go into the building.

“We got all that feedback, and incorporated it into the design,” said Sutherland.

Among the improvements in design is an effort to make the building environmentally friendly in its construction and use.

“The building has moved from being LEED Silver Certified to being LEED Gold,” said Sutherland. “It’s become the new standard for SAIT.”

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system for green buildings that is recognized in 150 countries around the world.

 

SAIT students want a space of their own. – Brigitte Matheson

 

The designers for the new building are Gibbs Gage Architects, the same firm that created the Trades and Technology Complex that opened at SAIT in 2012.

The project, which is estimated to cost $24 million, is now waiting on approval of a government loan.

Nearly $8 million has already been raised through the Restricted Students’ Association Building Fund.

Students at SAIT will continue to pay off the cost of the building through student fees until the government loan is covered.

Sutherland said that the building itself should be an effective revenue generator, with spaces being offered to businesses for rent, and by being a venue for weddings and other external events.

The Gateway, SAIT’s student bar, will also be relocated to the new student building.

“The Gateway will go in there. It’ll become a much larger location,” said Sutherland.

“It’ll be two stories, so there will be an ability to have bigger shows.”

Plans call for an entire floor to be dedicated to student space, with a lounge, study spaces, and “a huge increase” in room for campus clubs.

“We want to make sure that this building caters to the needs of our students, as well as that it becomes a fundamental part of the student experience at SAIT for generations to come,” said Matheson.

SAITSA will be releasing more information on the project throughout its design and construction process, at www.saitsahq.com.

About Justin Schellenberg 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Justin Schellenberg is working as a reporter for The Press during the 2016-17 academic year.