Waterloo Residences acknowledges that we live and work on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg, and Haudenosaunee peoples. The University of Waterloo is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land promised to the Six Nations that includes ten kilometers on each side of the Grand River.
The Housing and Residences team works to provide our students with more than just a place to live. It is our mission to foster meaningful growth and learning opportunities by providing a safe, accessible, clean and supportive home where all students succeed personally and academically. We go beyond housing.
As part of our commitment to uphold Housing’s mission, the Residence Facilities team is constantly working to improve our spaces. Our team is always working to develop, plan and implement various maintenance and renewal initiatives to update our existing spaces. We are also planning the creation of new spaces to continue to meet the needs of our students now and into the future.
Recent capital improvement projects
- V1 Lounges Update
- Furniture renewal of all 26 floor lounges in V1 over the Spring 19 term
- Improved space intended to increase student interaction in each community and meet the needs of the V1 students with durable, higher quality furniture
- UWP Walkway
- Project driven by Residence Safety & Security Infrastructure Advisory Committee
- Redesigned the parking layout and completed construction of wide pedestrian walkway from CMH to University Ave W, as well as paved roadway by Beck Hall
- Intended to improve traffic flow and circulation at UWP, and increase accessibility with new ramp at University Ave W
- New Multi-Faith Space
- Constructed new Multi-Faith room in V1 similar to CMH space, intended to provide a more convenient option for the Village residence communities
- Based on feedback from students and driven by the Occupancy and Student Development and Residence Life groups
- Beck/Eby Elevators
- Housing researched available options to first extend the service life of the elevators and secondly to render the buildings accessible
- Introducing a new elevator system within the existing hoistway was selected as the only technically feasible solution that significantly improves the accessibility in the Beck and Eby residences
- Construction completed in late Spring 19 term
- UWP Service Tunnels
- Underground service tunnel work completed, over 300’ of tunnels covering the span from Waterloo to Woolwich courts structurally stabilized (reinforced, underpinned and wrapped in concrete)
- This work ensured our students continue to receive essential services such as heat, electricity and network cabling.
- Proactive identification of the structural condition led to our execution of this work ahead of any substantial breakdowns.
- Beck and Waterloo furniture renewal
- Update for all suites, lounge furniture and appliances to match new standards for all residences completed in late Spring 19 term
- Identified for renewal based on the age of the existing amenities and lower vacancy during the Spring term
- Campus Wide Waste Strategies
- University has evaluated its current waste management infrastructure and practices in order to address changes to Governmental legislation
- Changes include collection of organics (green bin material), further separation of recyclables (fine paper, plastics, cardboard, glass, metals, etc.), and genuine waste
Ongoing capital improvement projects
- REV Great Hall Renewal
- New furniture, additional outlets, new paint and some new floor finishes will be coming to REV Great Hall in Winter 20 term
- During these renovations, the great hall will be taken offline for the first half of the winter term, with completion expected March 2020
- Wayfinding Signage Roll Out
- Housing is working with the campus to update all of our building external signage, directional wayfinding signage, and main entrance signage
- This work will continue through Winter 20 term
- V1 Sanitary and Tunnel Repairs
- Similar to the UWP tunnels completed in Spring 19 term, this work will be repairing service tunnels as well as sanitary lines at V1 over the Spring 20 term
- This will also include repairs to exterior pathways in V1 North, West and South
- Additional Allergy-Free Suites
- Renovations to create new allergy-free suites in REV and V1 will be complete over the Spring 20 term
- Based on feedback from students and driven by the Living Learning and Residence Life groups
- New AODA Accessible Upper Year Suite
- Renovations to create an AODA Suite for upper year students in Waterloo Court will be complete by end of the Fall 19 term
- UWP laundry updates
- Continue to update laundry facilities at UWP residence, Woolwich, Wellesley, Wilmot were recently completed
- Remaining laundry facilities in Beck, Eby and Waterloo will be updated in Spring 20 term
- Esports in Residence
- Introducing pilot equipment as a first phase to integrating esports in Residence, intended to gather feedback and gauge interest of students in the community
- Initial phase will be complete in Winter 20 term, introducing 8 PC stations and 3 Nintendo Switch console areas in the V1 CC
- REV Blinds Renewal
- This project to update all window blinds in the REV residence will continue in the new year
- REV North quad is the last to be complete and will be wrapped up in Spring 20 term
Future capital improvement projects
- Bedroom and Corridor Improvements
- Updated paint and floor finishes being discussed for REV, MKV, V1, MH, UWP
- Recent upgrades completed in Wellesley
- Increase the aesthetic of the residences and the value of living there
- Improving the environment to create a more welcoming, attractive space
- Bedroom Furniture Replacement
- Provide consistent bedroom furniture across residences
- Offer the same quality of furniture to each student in any residence
- Residence Landscaping Upgrades
- Capital planning will be evaluating the current condition of all housing sites
- Future landscape design will be taking some of the following into consideration: accessibility, stormwater management, bicycle parking locations, site furnishings, health and safety, etc.
- Current deteriorating pathways will be one of the main issues addressed, with possible new materials considered for increased durability and improved salt management
- Energy Conservation
- Housing has begun to make improvements related to energy conservation, such as LED lighting retrofits and insulated glass installations/replacements
- There are a large number of further opportunities for energy saving within Housing
- Future considerations for Housing improvements may include occupancy/ vacancy sensors for lighting and HVAC, low-flow or AutoFlush Valve installation on fixtures, high efficiency equipment, etc.
The Revitalization of all Residences (ROAR) project team was created with a mission to enhance and equalize the student experience and eliminate any disparity in quality, function, and amenities across the residences.
The team has selected the Scion group that includes Diamond and Schmitt Architects (DSAI) and Hanscomb cost planning and control organization as our master planning consultant.
The consultant will guide the project team in developing a master plan in collaboration with all relevant parties at UW Housing and other key stakeholders, pulling comprehensive assessments, analyses, and information together to help create a long-term plan. The long-term plan must fit our budget, ensure there is capacity to support enrollment, and provide a consistent, enjoyable experience for all students. Our ultimate goal is to create and implement a realistic long-term residence facilities plan, which serves as a 10 to 20 year road map to providing compelling living environments Waterloo students love - emphasizing the learning, student success and programming advantages above competitors.
Below is the initial proposed timeline to develop a master plan for Campus Housing at UW. It is intended to be a guideline and will be followed as closely as possible, however, can be altered at any time for the betterment of the project. Campus Housing and team ROAR are excited to involve UW students and share progress of this project as it develops. Please continue to check back for updates.
Phase 1: Project Initiation and Preliminary Data Gathering
January 1st – January 20th, 2020
- Team ROAR worked to finalize details of the schedule and upcoming campus visits. A basic housing tour was done to put the residence buildings involved in the plan into context – from a facilities and residence life perspective. The core committee is continuing to share all data that will be relevant to the Scion team when developing the master plan. This includes the recent Demand study, Branding Strategy, enrolment data, facilities assessments, student feedback and other items requested by Scion.
Phase 2: Visioning and Analysis
- Week of January 20th
- Meetings with stakeholder groups and core committee for 2-3 hour sessions over 2-3 days. Scion will lead the facilitation of these groups. Scion will provide outline of common concepts and themes, unique ideas with possibilities, and general feedback from the groups to the core committee.
- Week of February 10th
- Scion to conduct primary campus visit t perform the Visioning Workshop(s); Financial Options Workshop; Stakeholder meetings; Whiteboard Sessions; Focus Groups; Detailed Facilities Tour. More details TBD on time and location of meetings.
- Student Focus Group Sessions – The Scion team will conduct focus group sessions in order to gather qualitative data toward establishing an array of preferences and expectations. These sessions are typically up to an hour in duration, with questions asked to foster an open dialogue around the themes of current living and dining situation, academic and lifestyle supports available in residence versus other living situations, perception of other living options, characteristics of desirable student
residences and complementary campus services. The focus groups will be selected based on student availability and desired residential demographics. Scion typically conducts focus groups sessions with students who live both on and off campus, as well as separating students by a variety of other demographic characteristics.
- Whiteboard Sessions – These are informal sessions intended to reduce selection bias in the quantitative student data, and gather the broadest perspective possible. Whiteboards will be set up in high traffic student areas and attended by one or two Scion staff. They will ask passersby if they have 60-seconds to answer a question about where they live now and the future of housing for UWaterloo students. The questions posted on each whiteboard allow for a Post-It note response, and Scion staff often ask follow up questions.
- Week of February 24th
- Demand Study Gap Analysis and Branding Exercise Review – Presentation
- Week of March 8th
- Visioning Workshop Report; Financial Options Report; Summary of Student and Stakeholder feedback to be provided.
Phase 3: Program Planning and Financial Planning
April 20th – September 7th, 2020
- Week of April 20th
- Programming Workshop on campus - beginning to put together the phasing and grouping of projects based on campus priorities for results.
- Week of June 1st
- Draft Programming Memo – Presentation
- Week of July 13th
- Final Revisions to programming submitted.
- Week of July 27th
- Draft Financial Planning Memorandum submitted - Presentation.
- Week of September 7th
- Final Revisions to Financial Planning Memorandum are submitted
Phase 4: Findings and Recommendations
September 7th – November 23rd, 2020
- Week of October 26th
- Draft Housing Master Plan - Presentation.
- Week of November 23rd
- Final Revisions are submitted – Presentation
What is the Low Hanging Fruit (LHF) project?
The LHF project is an annual Residence Facilities initiative that seeks to improve students’ residence experience by delivering tangible, easily implementable, facility-related projects.
Given that our ongoing and future capital improvement projects take time to implement and our current students may not always see the benefits of our improvements while living here, the LHF project gives us an opportunity to implement improvements that current students can see and benefit from.
The project outcomes are heavily based on student feedback, and are intended to:
- Support student learning
- Encourage interaction and engagement
- Benefit as many students as possible
Since the Low Hanging Fruit project began in 2016, the Facilities Renewal team has invested approximately $1.3 million in student ideas on how to improve their residence experience. A few examples of past projects include:
- Updating our equipment and furniture to a better standard where needed, whether that was mattress renewal, new kitchen or laundry appliances, or gym equipment
- Making residences more inviting by adding more lounge furniture, new paint, or updating the furniture layout of dining halls or community spaces
- Recognizing the little things that make a difference to student life in residence, which included projects adding towel bars, TVs at the front desk or two ply toilet paper!
This year the focus of Low Hanging Fruit was to create opportunities to build positive interactions between front line staff members and students. Residence Attendants and Housekeepers hosted a drop-in style booth at CMH and V1 cafeterias during lunch and dinner hours on Oct. 28th, to hand out a short survey and chat with students on what they would like to see to improve their residence experience. Based on this feedback, projects were selected and will be implemented throughout the residences by end of January 2020. Some of the projects include:
- Additional outlets in 10 V1 lounges
- Additional Mobile Whiteboards
- Outdoor Patio Seating –UWP courtyards
- String lighting in UWP courtyard trees
- Renewal f Beck and Eby entrance lobbies (new furniture, signage, paint)
- Phone Charging Stations
- New lighting pilot in one REV lounge
- New Standard Fridges – REV recycling rooms
- Coffee Machines & Reusable Pods – V1 lounges & REV recycling rooms
- Arcade Machines – residence central complexes
As well as a few other projects! Thanks to all the students who participated in the feedback sessions. Residence staff enjoyed hearing from you, and they will be sharing updates in the New Year on these projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are tangible improvements?
Tangible improvements include items that students can directly perceive and interact with (think: furniture, A/V equipment, charging stations, etc.)
What do you consider to be "easily implementable improvements"?
Given that the project seeks to implement improvements that our current students can benefit from, easily implementable refers to items that can be initiated in the fall term and implemented by the end of the following academic term. This ensures that students can observe and benefit from the improvements each year.
What are facility-related improvements?
Given that the LHF project is a Residence Facilities initiative, facility-related improvements refer to items that affect our physical spaces in and around residence, or the objects/assets found within our spaces.
How do you collect student feedback?
We use a variety of methods to collect student feedback, including but not limited to:
- Meeting with student groups, such as the Marketing Advisory Board and Residence Council, to seek their feedback
- Analyzing data collected from the Skyfactor/EBI survey, which is sent to all residents living in our buildings every term on an annual basis.
- Through surveys, which are distributed via our Housekeepers, Residence Attendants, Dons and Front Desk Assistants
We also collect feedback and input from our staff, given their many years of experience working to support students and their experience working to understand the needs of our students.
How do you decide which improvements to implement?
Our team reviews all of the feedback we collect and measures it a decision-making matrix that is based on the guiding principles of the project, while also keeping in mind improvements that will already be addressed through our long-term plans.