SAIT isn’t finished building things, says the institute’s director of facilities.
Brad Boser said in an interview that with the federal government’s recent pledge of $20 million for upgrades to the campus, work is scheduled to get under way next year.
Plans include a new residential building, renovation of two existing classroom buildings and a new parking lot on the east side of campus.
Boser explained that with the demolition of Owasina Hall, SAIT’s first residential building, on the northeast corner of campus, students will be looking for another place to stay.
But a new residence will start to rise on the site of parking lot five, between the Begin Tower and East Hall residence, just north of the John Ware building.
Once all approvals for the new structure are in place, work will begin. A construction start around the year 2020 is the most likely scenario for the new residence.
SAIT Facilities intends to utilize the site of the old res as a construction staging area, Boser said.
“In 2020, the plan is to replace the Owasina land with a cistern that will collect and reuse water from the fire hydrants [and] then put a parking lot on top,” Bosner added.
In the meantime, upgrades will be done to both the John Ware and parts of the Senator Burns buildings, the two oldest structures on campus.
The refurbished John Ware will be used exclusively by hospitality management, baking and pastry arts, culinary and butcher classes.
The Burns, meanwhile, will be renovated for Information and Communications Technologies students.
The renovations are expected to take place at the same time a new student centre is scheduled to rise just southeast of the Campus Centre, meaning that SAIT is headed back to it days as large-scale construction zone.
Informed of the planned changes, some students expressed concern about the possibility of increases in fees to pay for the work.
“I can barely afford the fees now,” said Michael Morgan, a future SAIT student.
“If there are new buildings that they want us students to pay for, then I’ll never get into my welding program.”
Others believe that there is no point in adding a new residence building altogether.
“I go to Bow Valley, and they can barely fill the rooms they’ve got,” said Taya Gladue, a criminal justice student at Bow Valley College.
“Unless they plan on bringing people from other schools and lowering the price of rent just to stay in residence, then they’re just wasting their time and money,” said Gladue.