By Nhial Tiitmamer
|The new library under construction. Photo by Sarah Polkinghorne.|
The University of Alberta’s Augustana Campus is undergoing significant infrastructure growth with the construction of two linked buildings. The long-awaited library is scheduled for completion in spring 2009. Meanwhile, work has begun on the second phase of the $30-million project – the student forum.
Dr. Roger Epp, the Augustana Campus Dean, calls the project "a significant statement of public investment in the future of this campus." The new buildings are part of a long-range plan to improve and expand facilities to accommodate more students in the future.
The new library will not only have more room for books and journals. It will also include a large information commons and group study spaces that support new forms of student learning.
The library was initially scheduled for completion as early as November 2008. Dr. Epp listed the labor market as one reason for delay. “The Alberta context has been difficult for securing construction workers,” he said. “We knew the estimated completion time was unrealistic.” However, he is “happy that we seem to be seeing a regular consistent progress.”
The old library will be upgraded for classrooms and other purposes still to be determined.
The forum building, on the west side of the convocation centre, is scheduled for completion in early 2010. It is expected to be the new face of campus due to its magnificent sight. With its central location, it will act as a student gathering-place. It will contain the bookstore, a coffee shop and plenty of seating space – around three gas fireplaces – on the main floor.
“The forum will help us be the kind of academic community we want to build,” said Dr. Epp. “It says that the learning that happens outside the classroom is as important as what happens inside. In that way, it’s especially important that we provide welcoming space to keep off-campus students on campus between classes.”
In addition to the construction of library and forum buildings, renovation of the ravine residences has been ongoing. The student parking lot has also been enlarged.