New residence approved

Nov 14, 2002, vol. 25, no. 6
By Carol Thorbes

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Jan Fialkowski, (left) director of residence and housing, shows off a drawing of the new student residences. Construction is set to begin in February.

The construction of 500 single resident units for students fresh out of high school at Simon Fraser University will alleviate a huge waiting list and increase the university's competitive footing.

Over the last several years, SFU has put a lot of effort into recruiting students nationally and internationally.

“We've been generating a lot of interest,” says Jeff Macnab, the director of recruiting at SFU.

“But promising out-of-province students often don't accept our offer of admission if we can't guarantee them on-campus accommodation. We need to meet that need if we want to attract high quality undergraduates.”

Macnab notes that while most Canadian universities guarantee first year students on-campus accommodation, regardless of where they live, SFU could not even accommodate six per cent of its undergraduates registered this fall.

Regulations giving priority to exchange, returning and scholarship-holding students resulted in 500 new undergraduates being waitlisted this fall.

Three thousand freshmen initially expressed interest in living in SFU's 800 single-student undergraduate units.

“For many first year undergrads their first choice is to live on campus, even if they are from B.C. or the Lower Mainland,” says Jan Fialkowski, director of residence and housing at SFU. “Given the stresses of academic life, proximity to classes and information technology, such as high speed Internet, is important. If they live on campus they have both.”

Facilities management's plan for two new buildings with 500 new single-student units with shared washrooms and a dining hall will help alleviate the wait.

SFU's board of governors has approved construction of the new buildings (200,000 square feet combined). Construction should be under way by the end of February, and completed by September 2004.

The buildings will be located north of Louis Riel house and south of the residence parking lot.

All undergraduates in the new residences will subscribe to a mandatory meal plan, which caters to different appetites, tastes and budgets.

SFU is currently one of only two universities in Canada without such an undergraduate meal plan.

The university is taking out a 30 year mortgage worth up to $24,250,000 to pay for the new residences. All SFU accommodation will cost three per cent more to help pay the mortgage and maintenance.

The residence will be the first new building on campus since the Maggie Benston building was completed in 1996.

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