More dorms for students staying on campus

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Construction continues as the completion date of the towers remains uncertain. / Alexandra Antones

Construction continues as the completion date of the towers remains uncertain. / Alexandra Antones

How construction is going and the new services to be provided

One may have noticed a large construction site on the north side of campus; this article aims to clarify some of the concrete facts surrounding the University of Regina’s new residence tower. The U of R is going to add room for 606 new students to live on-campus; this will bring the total space for students living on-campus to 1849. The residence project will also add ninety new daycare slots to the already-available ninety, making University programs more accessible to any potential students requiring childcare.

URSU President Devon Peters is excited about the new construction.

“Rent and cost of living in Regina has been a longstanding issue. We saw the peak of it two years ago when vacancy hit a rate of 0.3 per cent. Students have been dealing with a really high cost of living, so I am hoping this will be a step in, providing the housing we need to ensure that rent costs don’t remain artificially inflated in this city.”

The residence tower is said to be on-schedule despite the harsh winter and wet summer Regina has experienced this year, resulting in several construction days being lost.

U of R Vice President of Administration Dave Button had the following to say on the construction timeframe.

“It is absolutely critical that we occupy it at the beginning of the academic year. It isn’t helpful to a student at all if we open the first of October. Everything seems to indicate they are on target for September 2015.”

Button states that the construction remains on budget, despite lost time with workers putting in six-day weeks to see the project to completion.

Peters tells us that URSU has heard concerns from students over the parking situation caused by the construction. School administrators have heard the same concerns and have stated that upon completion of construction much of the surrounding area currently taken up by equipment and materials will be rehabilitated back into parking. In addition to this, there will be 150 underground parking spots built into the new tower. The new parking lots southeast of the school were built in preparation for the spots displaced by the construction. Peters is worried about a lack of parking on the north side of the University, making it difficult for some students to easily access classes in the buildings located there.

Button says the University has responded to the pressures of the institution’s growth while creating a desirable space for students; specifically citing the recent addition of the Kinesiology and Riddell Centres and the opportunities for employment and participation in activities for students these buildings have provided.

Peters stated, “As it is we have an infrastructure deficit. So, we spent a few years expanding, and now we need to spend a few years fixing. Leaking roofs all over campus need to be fixed. It is kind of silly. As far as that kind of expansion goes, residences are a good proposition for the university. In terms of cost, they pay themselves off quite quickly.”

URSU and school administration are largely in agreement that the new residence tower is a positive addition to the campus and it seems both agree the University is approaching its maximum sustainable size. Both University administration and URSU stated they support increased transit usage and a U-Pass system as seen in other large cities as an alternative to parking at the University.

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