By Alex Latus
With stubborn snow and long periods of road work, it’s often said that Ottawa has two seasons: winter and construction. And you wouldn’t be remiss in believing the same about uOttawa either. Although many of the larger, long-term construction projects are winding down, regular maintenance and repairs will still be the summertime norm. Here’s what you can expect in terms of construction on campus this summer.
THE BIG THREE
The University’s three largest projects – Learning Crossroads (CRX), STEM, and uOttawa’s LRT Station – will wrap up by the end of 2018. At the Learning Crossroads, uOttawa’s new go-to study destination, this summer will be used to tie up loose ends and put the finishing touches on the few spaces remaining, such as a new 400-seat food services area. At the new Science and Engineering complex, it’ll be “full STEM ahead” as equipment is installed in preparation for the 2018 fall term. Meanwhile, the City of Ottawa will be completing construction on the new uOttawa LRT Station by late fall.
FOCUS ON HERITAGE BUILDINGS
The University of Ottawa is home to several heritage buildings, some of which date back more than a century. The warm days of summer are perfect for restoration work on Hagen Hall (87 years old), 100 Laurier (125 years old), 190 Laurier (98 years old), and uOttawa’s iconic Tabaret Hall (113 years old). Note that the Laurier Avenue entrance to Tabaret that is under the portico – a fancy word for a big covered porch with columns – will close until the end of the year. In the meantime, the quickest way to get to Admissions and InfoService will be through the building’s upper terrace entrance, located across from Desmarais Hall.
A GREENER CAMPUS
Expect campus to be a little bit greener next semester, both literally and figuratively. Not only will new landscaping be installed in front of the STEM complex, along with dozens of trees and shrubs planted around the Learning Crossroads and on Louis Pasteur, but also several sustainability projects, which reduce uOttawa’s greenhouse gas emissions and its energy and water consumption, will continue as well. The heating and cooling systems in Colonel By, Biosciences, Gendron, and CAREG will be fine-tuned, and the LED Retrofit Project will pursue its painstaking work of swapping nearly 90,000 fluorescent lamps on campus with energy-efficient LEDs.
TOWARDS GREATER ACCESSIBILITY
From 2014 to 2017, the University conducted an accessibility audit of the campus, which produced a five-year action plan for reducing barriers and a prioritized list of projects to tackle this summer. Several accessible chairlifts, sidewalks and curbs will be updated and improved, and the access ramp outside the Laurier Avenue entrance to Tabaret will be completely replaced. Universal-design washrooms will be built in Hagen, Simard and Hamelin as well. While some of these projects will require temporary shutdowns or detours, the campus will be more accessible and easier to navigate once they’re completed.
The quiet summer months are also ideal for conducting maintenance and repairs in high-traffic areas, such as Morisset Library and the residences, along with routine roofing work on Tabaret, Leblanc, Fauteux, D’Iorio and SITE. The pool and gyms in Montpetit will be closed for most of May for annual maintenance.