After several years of consultations with students and stakeholders about the need for more community space at St. Paul’s, spades hit the dirt yesterday in a much-anticipated ceremonial groundbreaking.
The new space will introduce many exciting features, including a 2,500 square foot dedicated space for the St. Paul’s GreenHouse social impact incubator, a large multipurpose community room, an expanded Watson’s Eatery, and 70 large new single rooms with private bathrooms, as well as kitchenettes on each floor for the live-in programs at St. Paul’s.
“As a proud St. Paul’s and University of Waterloo alumnus, I couldn’t be more pleased with the commitment and investment that this building will represent,” said Bill Watson, who lived at St. Paul’s in the 1970s and is now Chair of the University’s Board of Governors. “The St. Paul’s GreenHouse program in social entrepreneurship entirely aligns with the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship that pervades the ecosystem here at Waterloo.”
He added that because the expansion will allow upper-year students to mix with first-year students, it will recreate the ‘tremendous dynamic” that he remembers from his St. Paul’s days. “I think it will be a very positive contribution to this campus and this organization.”
The ceremonial gathering included students, alumni, staff, faculty, and friends who met outside the north wing on a crisp, sunny day to mark the expansion that will begin later this spring and open by Fall 2017. The event began with a territorial land acknowledgement, and students and staff from the Waterloo Aboriginal Education Centre performed some songs, including one to assist in incorporating the seven teachings (love, wisdom, respect, honour, courage, humility, and truth) into the new building.