The addition of a sign to SFU Surrey's newest building is just one of the recent improvements to the Surrey campus.

Community notices

Checking in at the Surrey campus: Upgrades great and small

August 12, 2020

By Natalie Lim

While most of our SFU community is learning and working remotely to curb the spread of COVID-19, Facilities Services teams at all three campuses have been working on exciting upgrades during the pandemic.

SFU News recently covered projects underway at the Burnaby and Vancouver campuses, and now it’s time to look at upgrades occurring in Surrey.

Although the Surrey campus remains open, with limited access granted to SFU community members, on-campus activity has slowed significantly over the past few months. Through this period of unusual quiet, the Facilities Services team has been keeping busy, with staff visiting campus on a rotating basis to carry out essential work such as cleaning and preventative maintenance.

Mike Devolin, associate director of facilities at the Surrey campus, has been overseeing this work alongside several projects that he expects to complete by September—including improved study spaces and the construction of a brand-new Welcome Centre.

“These upgrades will not only enhance the look and feel of the campus, but will provide better support for students and create a more inviting atmosphere,” says Stephen Dooley, executive director of the Surrey campus.

“I thank everyone involved in bringing these projects to life, and cannot wait to welcome back our Surrey campus community when we are able to safely gather once more.”

Student experience

As one of the projects stemming from SFU’s Student Experience Initiative (SEI), students returning to the Surrey campus can look forward to upgraded study spaces scattered across the campus.

One of the SEI’s main goals is to create more vibrant spaces for SFU students to stay and engage with their learning community. Now, eight upgraded study spaces will be ready for use by the fall. With new furniture and more study cubicles, these spaces will lend the campus a more contemporary feel and give the community more room to work and learn on campus.

Welcome Centre

Previously, you could find SFU’s Surrey bookstore in the Surrey campus mezzanine. As of last month, that space is being converted into a brand-new Welcome Centre.

The Welcome Centre will serve as a reception area and starting point for student tours, provide wayfinding for alumni, campus visitors and guests, and provide space for prospective students to meet with recruitment advisors. While the bookstore is closed, arrangements are being made to ensure that students can still pick up textbooks and purchase Spirit Shop merchandise from campus.

“We’re very pleased that this project is moving forward despite the challenges posed by COVID-19,” says Rummana Khan Hemani, vice-provost and associate vice-president, students and international.

“While the campus may be quiet right now, we are looking at how we can best support students, campus visitors and alumni once we move back to in-person classes and services. The Welcome Centre will be a prominent, welcoming gateway to the Surrey campus for visitors and community members alike.”

And that’s not all…

The Surrey campus Facilities Services team. From left to right, top to bottom: Treena Derrick, Mike Devolin, Todd Mann, Camille Drexl, Emy Meiliana, Henry Hein, Ted White, Tony Williams

Besides these major upgrades, Devolin’s team is also involved in smaller projects, such as an initiative to improve the temperature control in campus labs and the recent installation of a new sign on the Sustainable Energy Engineering building.

“We’ve been working hard during this time to provide essential services and create an even better campus environment for the SFU community,” says Devolin.

“I started working at SFU just weeks before COVID-19 changed our lives. We’ve faced challenges, but I’m proud to be working with such a strong and supportive team during these trying times.”