After decades of preparation and over three years of construction, Augustana Campus faculty and staff started moving in to the brand new, $30 million Student Forum building on Monday, July 5, 2010. The keys were handed over to Dean Roger Epp ten months after the new library welcomed students and staff in August, 2009. The new buildings are part of a long-range plan to improve and expand facilities to accommodate more students in the future.
“The presence of this Student Forum at Augustana says that the learning that happens outside the classroom is as important as what happens inside” says Dean Epp. “It is a place where there will be chance meetings of professors and students, where students can have a coffee and argue. Every now and then, people get trapped by space utilization formulas and bums in seats for what percentage of time – and that has its purpose. But the out-of-class space is crucial and we haven’t had enough of it.”
The Student Forum’s top floor is dedicated to academic and administrative offices and its lower floor hosts the Students’ Association and technology services. The main floor, featuring an expanded bookstore, coffee house and three gas fireplaces, will act as a major traffic route and gathering space for students before, between and after classes.
In constructing both the Student Forum and library, materials and fixtures were carefully chosen to have a low environmental impact: high-efficiency lighting provides better light for longer periods of time, polished concrete floors require little maintenance, and passive heating and cooling systems reduce energy costs.
“With the first and second phases of our building project complete,” Dean Epp continued, “we are proud to have delivered on our promised growth plan, made to the Augustana and Camrose communities during merger discussions with the University of Alberta. We thank the government for recognizing the importance of our out-of-class space to everything that happens at a university.”
Peter Streith of Kasian Architecture was charged with designing a signature building for the campus. “The new library and Student Forum will transform the visual, social and academic face of Augustana – and Camrose itself – for a new century of students, faculty and the community.”
- There are 23 offices and 7 workstations in the part of the Forum that has been completed. They will house TLS staff, administrative staff and the Bookstore Manager.
- An additional 6 offices and 4 workstations will be completed later this summer for Academic Advisors and the Augustana Students’ Association.
- The Forum has 3 meeting rooms, to supplement the 2 meeting rooms currently on Campus.
- The building will have student common space, a Cafe (to be run by Food Services), the Bookstore, Technology and Learning Services offices plus work space, and administrative offices.
- The Forum and the Library, although constructed separately, are one building. The whole building is fully wheelchair accessible on 3 levels from the Faith and Life Centre and the Convocation Centre.