Turret renovations set to commence this May

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Photo by Jake Watts

 

The Students’ Union has announced the next phase of their Turret renovations, with a $2.2 million construction project beginning this May.

The Turret, a multi-purpose event space located above the 24-Hour Lounge, has been the subject of renovations talk for a number of years now.

“The Turret project started a few years ago when our former executive director Roly Webster and the student leadership at that time wanted to kind of enhance that space,” Kanwar Brar, president and CEO of the Students’ Union, said.

“We had a group of students from Conestoga College come and give some preliminary analysis and designs and we rejected that at that time because it wasn’t what we were looking for,” Brar said.

In the time since then, however, the Students’ Union has managed to put together a plan — working with an architecture firm and the university — to transform the space and the way it is used.

“We will be using it both as a social venue, but also as a study space,” Brar said.

“And it will be transformable, which is the biggest benefit out of it. During the day, if there are no events taking place, any student can go up, use the Turret lounge chairs and couches for more comfortable seating, but on the Hawk’s nest side there will be more study space, group study spots, mobile whiteboards,” Brar said.

Although the Students’ Union envisions the space to be similar to Wilf’s and the concourse, there are no plans to open any sort of café or restaurant within it.

“Given that Wilf’s is right underneath, we’re exploring options of just having some of the food service options go upstairs so people have the option to order and have food delivered to them upstairs,” Brar said.

With construction beginning in May, Brar said that completion of the project is anticipated to be fall of this year.

“The projected completion date is fall 2018. I know that may seem vague; we want to try to have it ready for Labour Day weekend,” Brar said.

“We do understand with construction there are some challenges sometimes and complexities, and the latest we would anticipate is reading week of fall of this year,” Brar said.

Brar was also sure that the construction wouldn’t get in students’ way on campus.

“In regard to any impacts, the most direct would be the floor below right away, which would be the [Students’ Union] office space here, and all Student Affairs, but not in a way which would impact work for students or staff working in that capacity,” Brar said.

With regard to the budget — 2.2 million dollars from the Student Life Levy — Brar was confident that the project wouldn’t exceed the funds allotted.

“The 2.2 [million] is a very solid estimate and that’s what we’re going to focus on,” Brar said.

“We don’t anticipate it being over $2.2 million dollars because the amount of level of planning and detail we’ve done — it will be below the $2.2 million in all aspects,” Brar said.

“If that changes by any means, we will reassess options at that time, whether that’s changing some of the furniture or anything. But as of now, the amount of thorough planning we’ve done with the architecture firm, with the university, we will not be going beyond $2.2 million,” Brar said.

If there are, however, any hiccups in the process, Brar iterated that the Students’ Union would communicate that to students.

“And in the case that we see any potential delays, we will be communicating that to students, but as of now we expect to open for fall 2018,” Brar said.

Overall, the project has been long in the making, with many different student leaders working on it through the years.

“This project’s been years in the making with a lot of former student leaders,” Brar said.

“This year I had the opportunity to kind of spearhead it working with the architectural firm to finalize some of the conceptual designs, what it looks like and securing the funding, which was the biggest struggle in the past,” Brar said.

“And with the funding secured, I think we’re in very good shape moving forward,” Brar said.

“And this is something students will benefit from for a really long time.”

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