The new year ushered in a new look on UFV’s Abbotsford campus.
With a dramatically improved exterior, vastly improved insulation, and extensive tech and cosmetic upgrades, Phase 1 of UFV’s Building Renewal Project is now “98-per-cent complete,” according to Nicolle Bourget, Building Renewal Project Manager.
A few finishing touches, including landscaping, will finish the Building A-East component of the project, which began in the fall of 2019.
“It’s been a real team effort,” Bourget says.
“Information Technology Services, Facilities, and Campus Planning were involved in planning and renovating the spaces, and of course we’ve had lots of incredible tradespeople on site for months now.”
Most noticeably, the aging exterior of Building A has been removed and replaced with an upgraded exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), allowing for wall inspections, improved insulation, and upgraded windows — significantly improving energy efficiency while substantially reducing operating costs.
“We’ve taken advantage of this work to do some updating as well,” Bourget adds, pointing to upgrades to Wi-Fi, fibre networks, lighting, flooring, roofing, stairwells, window coverings, and more.
“All classrooms have been repainted, and the old red window frames were replaced with our new windows,” she says.
“Everything just looks so much lighter and more open.”
Touchless entry now allows access to A-East, flowing into the renovated Spirit Bear café area which includes a new industrial-style exposed ceiling.
Having witnessed the transformation unfold, UFV President Joanne MacLean is particularly looking forward to the positive impacts these improvements will bring to students, employees, and the greater community.
“While we certainly miss the energy our students bring to campus, this project is another example of the work being done to ensure the best possible campus learning environment upon their return,” she says.
“We’re especially excited knowing this targeted capital funding from the Ministry will continue to help us engage learners, transform lives, and build community for generations to come.”
The improvements are warmly welcomed by both Abbotsford-Mission MLA Pam Alexis and AEST Minister Anne Kang.
“Investing in better student spaces for in-demand courses offered by UFV enables us to improve access to education for students in our own community,” Kang says.
“The renewed facility will continue to provide students an exceptional learning experience here in the Fraser Valley.”
UFV’s Chief Financial Officer and VP Administration Jackie Hogan agrees, adding, “While the work continues on Building D, we couldn’t be happier with the improvements to Building A-East. I’d like to offer our genuine thanks to AEST for the targeted funding that made this project a reality, to UFV’s internal team for their hard work and dedication to this substantial undertaking, and to those UFV employees who continued working on campus throughout construction disruptions.”
As noted by Hogan, the focus has shifted to Phase 2 and Building D, a larger and more complex project where significantly thicker walls add new challenges as crews implement similar upgrades as those to A-East.
With the majority of students, staff, and faculty working remotely, Bourget hopes to take advantage of working on the largely empty Building D, with a projected completion date of early 2022.
Fewer people on campus has also benefited a separate project led by Shelley Young, Space Planning and Design Coordinator, allowing significant upgrades in the School of Criminology, featuring a new layout replete with a modern meeting room.
The entire EIFS Building Renewal Project is on budget and made possible through capital-specific funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training.
As a reminder, in adherence with COVID safety plans faculty and staff members who are required to come to campus for essential activities must follow guidelines outlined on UFV’s COVID resource site: www.ufv.ca/coronavirus/return-to-campus/
UFV Building Renewal benefits include:
- Improved appearance and lifespan
- More consistent heating and cooling management
- Digital infrastructure upgrades
- Improved energy efficiency
- Addressing ongoing moisture issues