Why did the project timeline change?
The SLC/PAC project has shifted to 2020 for completion, with some facilities and spaces opening sooner as they are finished. This shift in this schedule is due to several factors including unforeseen conditions, poor soil, bad weather, and changes or variations in the scope of work. The schedule of major demolition and reconstruction of work around events (like exams) in two occupied buildings has been a challenge for both the University and the contractors. These factors are common for projects of this magnitude and given the context, the project is moving along well.
Will this delay impact the student fee?
No. The student fee of $18 per term will remain the same, as ratified by the student vote. The fee will start once the new building is fully operational and the PAC fitness centre is complete. The updated timeline anticipates completion in 2020.
How will the new timeline impact students day-to-day life on campus?
The project team is working to minimize the impact on students while ensuring the building remains safe. For example:
- The SLC will remain open 24/7 and most programming will continue including club events, Welcome Week, and Convocation.
- The PAC is open including full operation of the pool, Warrior Zone, studios, squash courts, gyms (main and small), change rooms, and the Customer Care Desk. Additional programming and services are offered in CIF.
- Pathways and detours will continue to change - you'll see additional signs, posts on social media, and updates to the campus map (web, portal and kiosks) with route details.
- Some new food outlets have opened while others will remain closed or have an interruption to their service: use the Portal food widget to find out what is open and visit Food Services for alternate food options and to find out what changes are coming. Please note that International News (including Wasabi Sushi) and Tim Hortons remain open during construction and offer a wide variety of food options!
- Study space available during construction is limited: Portal can help you find and book space to study or meet with classmates.
Essential services in both the SLC and PAC will continue to function. Whenever possible, non-essential services will remain active or find alternate arrangements.
Will this timeline shift change the final features planned?
No. The focus will continue to be on social, activity, dining, and recreation space for all students. The list of features has not changed.
Whose idea was this building?
This is a student-driven initiative. The Federation of Students (Feds) and the Graduate Student Association (GSA) are leading the project with the University as a key partner. Athletics is a major stakeholder in this project.
A recent Council of Ontario Universities (COU) university space assessment report stated that the University Waterloo was below the provincial average in study space, recreation/athletics space, assembly, and exhibition facilities and student activity space. This report echoes what students have been saying for years: that students want more social, study, dining, and recreation space.
Both the Feds and the GSA have been leading the SLC/PAC Expansion discussion with the University, with the goal to address the student space needs, while encouraging a stronger sense of community and improving the student experience.
There was a series of student consultations in May 2016 which gleaned a lot of student feedback on spaces such as the multi-faith space, the event space, the dining space and others.
Have students voted on student space in the past?
Yes. In previous years, students voted yes to two separate referendums, for the SLC expansions and the creation of the CIF in 1992 and 2002, knowing they would help to provide a vibrant, multi-use space for the Waterloo students of the future.
What will be a part of the SLC/PAC Expansion?
The focus will be on social, activity, dining, and recreation space for all students.
What are the addition’s features?
The addition will be a three-story, modern glass construction featuring:
- Enclosed link from the second floor of the SLC to the third floor of MC, connecting the SLC via the campus tunnel/link network
- 150-seat bookable event space ideal for guest speakers and student activities
- 4500 square feet of lounge space featuring comfortable chairs, couches, tables, and lots of electrical outlets
- 14 multipurpose rooms in a variety of sizes, bookable by any student, group, or club
- 345 additional dining seats (totally 525 seats) with moveable seating
- Additional food outlets and a redesign of the existing food services to better serve students
- Multi-faith prayer space fitting 100 people, offering cleansing amenities, prayer mat storage and situated in the Qilba orientation
- Graduate students lounge seating 40
- More than 3.5 times increase of existing PAC fitness centre featuring a two-floor concept with natural light totaling 11000 square feet
- 3000 square feet of additional PAC studio space
- Grand PAC entrance with main reception improving access for visitors and exam/event traffic
- Climbing wall at the pinnacle of the building, with visibility onto the BMH green
- Lobby space for convocation/event receptions
What is a multi-faith prayer space?
This reflective space is designed to support faith-based student activities. It will be open 24-hours a day for students to practice their faith, and for student clubs to host prayers and other faith-focused events. The space will be welcoming, with good lighting and be situated in the Qibla orientation. There will be cubbies inside the room for students to store their belongings. Also, there are going to be cleansing facilities built conveniently into the expansion. These were designed after consultation with many student faith groups.
What is the 150-seat bookable event space?
This space will comfortably seat 150 people, and can be booked for events, presentations, speakers, etc. The room will have full audio-visual functionality, with light dimmers. The furniture will be moveable to allow for various room configurations.
How will the dining space change?
The dining space will increase the number of seats from 180 to 525 seats, an increase of nearly 200%. The additional seats will be a combination of fixed seating along the perimeter and flexible seating to allow different seating configurations. There will be a mixture of seating for groups of two, four, and six, as well as longer, community-style tables, and barstool seating at a high counter.
What will be in the social lounge space?
This 4500-square foot space will be furnished with comfortable couches, chairs, and low tables as well as recreation equipment such as pool and foosball tables. As this area will be adjacent to a high traffic area it, its purpose is to be a social and interactive lounge for students between classes and catch up with friends. There will be couches in lounge spaces on the upper floors to provide quieter study lounge environments.
What is happening to the PAC fitness centre?
The current fitness centre located in the PAC basement has a few cardio machines as well as free-weights and racks. The proposed project includes a significant expansion of the fitness centre, creating a two-level fitness facility with 11000 square feet to house cardio equipment, free weights, and racks, plus the addition of Olympic platforms and other workout equipment. The two levels will have a large staircase in the middle to allow easy access between the floors, and a cut-out in the upper floor to connect the two spaces, allowing natural light into the basement level. CIF will remain open during all of the renovations.
What is happening to the PAC fitness studio space?
This 3000-square foot space will house two large studios, in addition to the existing studio spaces. The two studios will be separated by a flexible wall to form one larger studio for popular fitness classes. Current facilities are at capacity and the additional space will allow for more diverse programs, especially at peak times.
Will this building be accessible and inclusive?
Elevators will be installed in both the SLC and the PAC to increase the overall accessibility of all of the buildings. There is an elevation change from the ground level of the SLC to the ground level of the PAC. To bridge this gap, the new building has two elevation changes along its expanse through the addition of a small set of stairs. Ramps have been included along the far side of the building, at a very slight incline of 1:20 to allow for easier ascent. Each floor of the new building includes a single-stall, gender neutral washroom.
How close will the floor plans/architect drawings be to the actual building?
The floor plans and artistic renderings developed for the referendum are concept drawings, to give students a good idea of what the building will look like and how the space will be used. After the project received a majority yes vote, the architect developed a schematic design, which may change the floor plans slightly. The major elements will not be removed from the project. There have not been any significant changes to the project.
Will there be any University administrative offices in the building?
Construction and building timeline
Who is the contractor?
Bondfield Construction is the general contractor for this project. They are based out of Concord (Toronto) and have been involved with many large-scale projects including the University of Waterloo’s Engineering 5, School of Accounting, Science Teaching Complex, etc.
Where will the addition be?
It is an expansion to both the PAC and the SLC, west of the BMH Green. The PAC and SLC will connect through the East (formerly Red North) corner of the PAC. It will include a covered walkway to the AHS buildings, and a link connecting the second floor of SLC to the third floor of MC.
How do I navigate around the construction?
Every effort is being made to minimize the impact on student life during the SLC/PAC expansion.
The path from the BMH extension to SLC will be rerouted on to the BMH green with clear signage on the fences. Alternate entryways will be clearly marked for both buildings.
Will this project be built on current green space?
The footprint of the addition does not extend onto the BMH Green, only expanding to areas that are currently paved.
What will happen to the existing SLC courtyard?
The footprint of the addition will cover the existing courtyard but a new SLC courtyard will be built to the east of the existing one. An additional courtyard will be built in between the PAC and SLC building, near the current overhead PAC/SLC link.
Will trees be removed during construction?
Yes; however, every effort will be made to relocate trees on campus rather than have them cut down. Any plaque or marker on affected trees will be saved, kept in storage, and rehung after the tree has been moved. Existing trees that are too big to be replanted will be replaced with new trees.
How long will it take?
Original construction plans estimated the entire project construction would take 16-20 months and open in Fall 2018. However, due to several circumstances, the timeline was updated to an anticipated completion in 2020 with some aspects opening sooner as they are completed.
What's open/ closed?
What’s happening in the SLC? What’s open/ closed?
Check the most recent project update to see what is open and closed in the SLC. Or, use the Portal food widget to see all food location and whether they are open. Portal's open classrooms and study space widgets will show you available space to study across campus.
What’s happening in the PAC? What’s open/ closed?
Will there be a student fee?
As a partnership between the University and the students, the University will contribute a portion of the capital costs towards the expansion. Students will need to contribute the remaining amount. The fee will be $18 per term.
The project cost has changed since the referendum. Who is paying the difference?
The key components of the SLC/PAC 2016 referendum (additional study space, additional dining options, multi-faith space, new fitness centre, etc) have remained prominent in the project planning. Although the final costs of the building are higher than what was quoted during the referendum, the student contribution will remain at the $24 million - or $18 per term - that was ratified by the student vote. The University of Waterloo has agreed to contribute the remaining capital to the project.
What is the University’s contribution to the project?
In response to students requesting additional student space, the university has worked with the Feds and the GSA to meet student space needs. The University hired an architect to create the SLC/PAC Expansion building plans and artistic renderings in time for the student referendum. The University has also allocated a number of staff to work with the students as they prepared the proposal for the student referendum. The University will also be contributing $17 million towards the expansion. Students will contribute $24 million.
What will the fee go towards?
The student fee will only go towards the construction of the SLC/PAC Expansion and renovations of the PAC fitness centre.
Who will pay for the ongoing operating costs of the building?
Similar to the current SLC, the operating costs will be split between the students who manage the building and the University. The student contribution will likely come from a new Student Services Fee, overseen by the Student Services Advisory Committee.
When will the fee start?
The fee will not start until the new building is fully operational and the PAC fitness centre is complete. Completion of the building is expected for 2020 with some aspects opening sooner as they are ready.
How long will students have to pay the termly student fee?
Based on current student enrollment, the projected timeline is 23 years, at a 3.3% interest rate.
Can I opt out of the fee?
No. The SLC/PAC fee is non-refundable. For a full list of incidental student fees, please visit the Student Financial Services website.
When was the referendum held?
Undergraduate and graduate students voting was held from February 9-11, 2016. Ballots were cast on the Feds and GSA websites, and through the student portal.
What was the referendum question?
The referendum* question was:
Do you support a fee of $18.00 per term for the construction of the SLC/PAC Expansion with the following conditions:
- part time students pay 30% of the fee,
- the fee will begin after completion of the project
- the fee will be indexed annually to inflation, thereafter
- any student contributions to on-going operating costs will be determined by a committee whose membership is comprised of a majority of students.
*The graduate student referendum question has slightly modified wording.
Who will have management control of the building?
The expansion will be managed by the Federation of Students and the GSA.
Will this be a LEEDs-certified building?
The cost for the LEEDS-certification process was determined to not be the best use of student funds. However, the project will include the necessary elements to be certified as LEEDs silver, but will not undergo the official certification process.
The SLC/PAC Expansion Project will incorporate natural processes and the environment, taking advantage of passive design principles to reduce the long-term energy consumption and increase the resilience of the building.
The key sustainability features include:
- Overall aim for 25% reduction in energy use and 40% reduction in water use
- Redistribution of waste heat to other areas of the building or to heat water
- Natural ventilation and displacement ventilation
- Daylight harvesting (lowering lighting when enough sun is present)
- Motion sensors and automated systems to lower energy during inactive periods
- LED lighting
- 12 kWh solar panel array linked to an interactive sustainability dashboard
- Low-flow faucets
- Rainwater harvesting
- Grey water harvesting system
- A green roof
- Stormwater management practices
You can read a more detailed description of the sustainability features here.
Will there be study space in the building?
There are 14 new, multi-purpose rooms in the addition, which can be booked by any student for group study, and the 4500-square foot social space has couches, tables, and chairs that students can use for casual study space.
Study space will continue to be addressed in many buildings across campus, where opportunities are presented. For example, the University has made empty classrooms available for students to study in, which can be accessed in the Open Classrooms feature in Portal.