Summer Construction 2016

Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2016

Author: Alex Latus

Image of campus construction seen from high up

The summer construction, seen from the top of Thompson.

uOttawa may not be as big as Rome, but it too wasn’t built in a day. In fact, it’s still not finished: as the University’s community continues to grow and evolve, so must our campus. Whether it’s part of the master plan or just routine maintenance, keeping the campus running, and moving forward, takes hard work, vision, and definitely doesn’t take the summer off. While some projects will wrap up this fall or even in the coming years (bear with us), here’s an overview of what Facilities got done this summer. Welcome home!


If you’ve been wondering what the big orange tarp over the back of Lamoureux is for, that’s where it will join with the new Learning Centre. The 1360-seat extension will add modern study rooms, collaborative spaces, and even a food services area on the first floor. Built from the (under)ground up, the building is about halfway done: the basement was completed this summer and the first floor is underway. Facilities also began preparing the site for a new building that will finally replace MacDonald Hall and the Cube. More on that soon!


University Square, one of the most visible projects on campus over the past year, opened to the public in mid-July. Disguised amongst the newly planted trees and shrubs nestled around the event space are anchors for a marquis tent, one large enough for convocations, galas or festivals of up to 3000 people! Some of the plants will take years to mature, but in time a total of 52 trees, 579 shrubs, and 720 ornamental grasses and perennials will decorate the space.

Another space due for an upgrade, the terrace outside of 1848 (and its infamous “pit”) is no more! Still under construction, the new UCU Terrace will offer a dynamic assembly area with beautiful new lights and landscaping; a fifth of the new surface area will be dedicated to greenery. If it’s too cold for planting when the project is completed this fall, the landscaping will take place next spring.


Not only do we touch up the residences every summer, the Office of Campus Sustainability and its volunteers also collect and donate whatever items have been left behind: “Dump and Run” goods are sorted, cleaned and distributed to various local charities and the Free Store so they can be reused by those who need them. You might not think they find much, but since 2008 we’ve collected nearly 35 tonnes of items - that’s approximately the weight of 13 elephants!


The beach season may be coming to a close, but you can still cool off in the freshly-maintained Montpetit pool. From late April to early June, the pool was drained and covered in scaffolding as we carefully checked it over and did maintenance, even touching up the diving tower and installing new ceiling lights. To make sure our Gee-Gees hit the ground running this semester, we also spent some time in Montpetit sanding, repairing, and re-varnishing the gymnasium floor.


Some of you may have left for the summer by the time it happened, but Campus Station is no more!  (So make sure you figure out your transit options and get off at Laurier!!) On campus, we’ll have to accommodate the LRT by rebuilding the West-facing entrances to Vanier and Marion so they face away from the site.


Unseen by those of us on the main campus, there’s a lot going on over at Roger Guindon! Roughly 60 office spaces were renovated over the course of the summer to accommodate the construction and fit-up of four laboratories; work on the labs began June 1st and is expected to continue into 2018.  We’ve also upgraded a number of classrooms and common spaces in Colonel By, Desmarais, 200 Lees, and 100 Laurier over the past few months.


Roofing projects are a common summer sight in Ottawa, and it’s no different here on campus. While routine, new roofs are necessary to protect uOttawa’s facilities and equipment. And, you know, keep us dry – it may not be the most exciting project, but nobody likes a leaking roof…  Since May, we’ve replaced the roofs over Leblanc, Brooks, and Colonel By. The replacement of Montpetit’s roof (and some of its skylights) is still underway, and D’Iorio’s will start soon.


It may seem hard to believe, but, with over 40,000 people moving around campus, even cement steps eventually need some tender loving care. Sometimes they weaken and sometimes they leak, but, whatever the reason, they often have to be completely replaced to address the problem. That was the case this summer with some of the steps outside Morisset and the UCU. We redid and insulated the stairwells leading to the Brooks underground parking, too.


To help you keep your cool during midterms, a new chilled water system, an alternative to traditional air conditioning, was placed below Morisset in August to better supply the northern end of campus with cold air; the installation should be completed by early 2017. We also began retrofitting and optimizing the building systems in Colonel By and Biosciences to make them more efficient and reduce the cost of utilities on campus!


You’ve probably noticed the construction next to Tabaret and wondered why the street is blocked off. Since mid-May we’ve been working with the City of Ottawa to update the sewers, storm drains, and water mains beneath Séraphin Marion private; dating back to 1875, some of the pipes were made of wood! The project should be completed this fall after some new landscaping.


The (slightly) quieter summer is a good time for us to step back and evaluate the campus. This year, to improve uOttawa’s level of accessibility, we hired a team of auditors to help examine our spaces over the next two years and review our level of conformity related to accessibility standards; we’ve audited over a dozen buildings on campus since we began in April.

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