The University of the Fraser Valley and the UFV Student Union Society are working together to realize a long-term dream of opening a Student Union Building on the Abbotsford campus.
Construction began in mid-September 2013 on the building, which will be located west of the gymnasium complex and south of Building D.
The $15-million project will be financed on a cost-shared basis, with UFV students providing $10 million of the funding through a $35 per semester fee that was approved in a referendum in 2008. The university will provide $5 million of the funding.
The architects for the project are Chernoff Thompson, and the building contractor is Mierau Contractors.
Phase one of the building, to be completed by early 2015, will be 46,700 square feet and three storeys.
It will house the Student Union Society, Student Life, Campus Card office, the Aboriginal Resource Centre, and a large multi-purpose hall on the first floor; the CIVL student radio station, the Cascade student newspaper, Aftermath, and more SUS services on the second floor; and the Career Centre, Alumni Engagement, Supported Learning Groups, and a variety of student meeting and study rooms on the third floor.
“We’re very happy to be proceeding with this project because it will provide much-needed space for student-related activities and functions at UFV and help to foster student life and spirit on campus,” said Craig Toews, executive director of campus planning at UFV. “Particularly welcome will be the multi-purpose hall. Students will also enjoy a much improved campus restaurant experience in the new Aftermath restaurant. And all those areas that are getting relocated will benefit from new and expanded facilities. This building will house a lot of exciting activity and will be open longer hours than our standard school hours of operation.”
Student leaders have been talking about wanting a Student Union Building on the Abbotsford campus for more than 20 years, and planning has been ongoing since the referendum passed in 2008.
In addition to improving student space on campus, Toews is excited about the sustainability features of the new building, noting that students involved in the planning process were “incredibly passionate” about advancing the university’s sustainable design objectives to achieve the best in terms of livable spaces and energy efficiency.
“There are a number of sustainable features that will significantly reduce energy costs and the building will be LEED Gold certified. It has also been designed with the option for an expansion which would add another third to the building,” he said.
UFV Student Union Society president Shane Potter is also happy to see the project launched and shovels in the ground.
“It became clear to us several years ago that we needed a larger, more all-encompassing facility that would help unite student services and support the UFV community spread over various campus locations,” said Potter. “Today that vision starts to become a reality.”
Jody Gordon, UFV’s Vice President Student Services, said the new facility reflects the university’s commitment to providing additional space that supports student life, engagement, and development.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with our Student Union Society on such an important project as this,” she said. “Space for students to gather, work on group projects, hold club meetings, receive service and support, and engage in social activities is an integral part of a student’s overall university experience.”