John Ware construction cooks up challenges for SAIT culinary students

Renovations to SAIT’s John Ware building have served up some challenges to the School of Hospitality and Tourism.

Work on the Ware, one of the oldest classroom buildings on campus, began in the summer and will continue until next April. It has caused problems for some of the cooking programs that operate in the building.

Kelsey Palmer, a second-year baking and pastry arts student, has most of her classes in the John Ware, although there are some culinary programs that have class in the Senator Burns building.

“I didn’t realize the magnitude of what they were going to do,” said Palmer.

She said construction hasn’t necessarily moved any of her classes, but “it’s really hard to get in and out of the building.”

Sometimes the only door to get in is locked in the morning, and she has been late to class because of it.

Although all students affected by the construction were either emailed or told at orientation that there would be changes, the dislocations and inconveniences were a surprise.

Fire exits, all services in the building, and all labs for culinary students are still accessible and open, but they are not the same.

The 4Nine’s café, the Market Place, the Butchery, and the Highwood dining room are all still open, but they have seen a drastic decrease in customers, said Mikenna Gallinger, also a second-year baking and pastry arts student.

“It’s a little tiny entrance,” to The Highwood, she said.

However, other resources for the culinary students, like Jackson’s Garden on the southeast side of the building have been shut down, and the honeybee colony on the rooftop was relocated to an experienced beekeeper, until construction is finished in spring 2018.

The purpose of construction for the John Ware building, which hasn’t changed since its construction in 1958, is to improve electrical and utility infrastructure.

The outside look of the John Ware will be modernized to “create higher efficiencies,” according to the SAIT website.

Upgrades will increase sustainability. The new electrical and utility systems on the rooftop of the John Ware have a reduced footprint of 70 per cent, which decreases emissions and operational costs.

Improvements will mostly be seen through a decrease in power outages, and heating and cooling issues in the building.

School of hospitality and tourism Interim Dean Cindy Findlay said they are excited about the transformations.

“The much needed upgrades will make our building more energy efficient, provide us with a modern look and allow us to better meet the future needs of our students,” said Findlay in an email.

The school of hospitality and tourism is working with the construction crew to keep labs for students operational, and “disruptions to a minimum,” because student success is at the “forefront” of their priorities.

Funding for the redevelopment came from the $20.7 million in federal support that was given to SAIT by the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

Timelines for completion are “especially strict,” said Brad Boser director of facilities management, because SIF will only pay if the renewals are 100 per cent finished by April, 2018.

SAIT is working with Gibbs Gage Architects to create the John Ware’s contemporary, sleek new look.

Chaotic Classrooms: Kelsey Palmer, a second-year baking and pastry arts student at SAIT, poses for a picture in the deconstructed hallway where her classrooms are located in the John Ware building basement on SAIT campus in Calgary on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. Palmer said it’s difficult to get into the building now because there are only a few doors that students can use to access their classes while construction is ongoing. (Photo by Skye Cunningham/The Press)
About Skye Cunningham 4 Articles
As a writing and communications major in the journalism program at SAIT, Skye Cunningham worked as a reporter for The Press during the 2017-18 academic year.