Renovations underway at New West campus

Growing student population calls for upgrades

By Aaron Guillen, Staff Reporter

Since February 8, construction has been taking place in the 0600/1600 area of the New Westminster Campus, the long hallway to the left after passing through the Bookstore. College officials announced at the beginning of the month that they were planning to renovate the lower area of the campus.

“This will be the largest renovation at New Westminster campus since its opening in 1982. The project will include classroom upgrades such as energy efficient lighting, HVAC systems and state-of-the-art AV technology for instructors,” states the school blog.

Covering around 3,000 square metres, the renovation promises to improve students’ learning experience and place priority on an Engineering Foundations Certificate and Engineering Essentials program. There will be 22 new classrooms and lab spaces by the project’s end.

Tentatively on course for completion by August, students should be cautious along Victoria Street, the hub of construction preparation and demolition. For safety reasons, Douglas officials warn pedestrians to avoid the street, due to closed sidewalks and potential construction fencing. Students should expect single-lane traffic along the road and periodical closures to the parkade during major renovation days.

“As with any construction, there will be occasional noise and minor disruptions. Some classes will be moved to new rooms to ensure the expected noise does not impact students or teachers.”

Many questions are raised by this six-month project. Will new students be able to access the new and renovated spaces by Fall 2016? How much will this renovation cost, and will that affect the ever-rising tuition rates for the next few semesters? Douglas College has yet to confirm the estimated price tag, although one could speculate there will be a reveal during the college’s Annual General Meeting on February 24.