A brand-new mural has been installed as one of the recent upgrades to SFU's Vancouver campus.

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Meet you by the mural: Vancouver campus' Harbour Centre building gets a makeover

July 08, 2020
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By Natalie Lim

As the SFU community continues working and learning from home through the summer term, SFU Facilities Services is taking advantage of this time to perform upgrades across all three campuses.

We recently took a look at three projects making headway on the Burnaby campus—but there are improvements underway at the Vancouver campus as well.

Since mid-March, facilities staff have been visiting the Vancouver campus on a rotating basis to do basic maintenance and upkeep. The team’s biggest project at the moment is adding signage and physical distancing barriers to ensure the safety of community members who may be on campus.

Additionally, supervisors have been coming to campus as needed to check in on the status of ongoing projects, according to Mat Cocuzzi, associate director of facilities services for SFU’s Vancouver campus.

“Many of our planned long-term projects have moved full steam ahead due to the significant reduction of activity on campus,” says Cocuzzi.

One supervisor, project manager Augustin Tretinik, has been on campus twice a week to oversee a slate of projects centered around space upgrades and improvements to the overall campus experience.

He cannot wait for the community to see what his team has been working on.

Meet you by the mural

The most visible difference is the new Vancouver campus mural, which was recently installed in the Harbour Centre concourse. The mural features visual representations of each faculty that calls the Vancouver campus home, alongside iconic SFU symbols captured in a playful style. Laurie Anderson, executive director of the Vancouver campus, believes that “meet you by the mural” may become a common phrase once campus life resumes.

 “This colorful mural captures the essence of the university, and of the downtown campus in particular,” says Anderson.

“The mural also represents the convergence of creativity, consultation and collaboration—made possible by the imagination and expertise of our Communications & Marketing project director, Ailsa Brown, and local design studio, Chairman Ting, alongside feedback from the students, faculty and staff who work and learn at the Vancouver campus.”

Study lounge upgrades

Returning students will also be able to take advantage of upgraded study lounges that are being installed on three different floors of Harbour Centre as part of SFU’s Student Experience Initiative (SEI). These lounges feature expanded seating, more electrical outlets, and a fresh new design—upgrades that were directly inspired by student feedback.

“Unlike the Burnaby campus, the Vancouver campus is in the middle of the city,” says Tretinik, who designed and oversaw implementation of the upgrades. “Students were missing that aspect of being outdoors and asked to see more elements of nature incorporated into campus, so we added lots of wood and greenery to our designs.”

“The study lounges were also designed with a focus on accessibility,” says Laya Behbahani, director of the SEI. “With our SEI projects, we want to ensure that all students feel comfortable using the spaces, and that they feel a real sense of belonging during their time at SFU.”

And that's not all...

In addition to the mural and student lounges, there are several other campus improvements underway at the Vancouver campus, including the addition of bookable study spaces in the Harbour Centre library, washroom renovations on the seventh floor, and a project to incorporate digital signage across the campus. This fall, construction will start on a new graduate research commons, giving graduate students a dedicated place on campus to work on research and access library support.

While juggling all these projects has been quite a feat, the facilities team wants to ensure that students, staff and faculty feel welcomed upon their eventual return to campus.

“We know lots of people have found it challenging to work and study from home during COVID-19, so we’ve put special care into these projects,” says Tretinik.

“I really think we’ve created a beautiful campus experience for them to enjoy once we move back to in-person classes and services.”