The construction project between buildings 7 and 8 that has been blocking space around and inside the two buildings’ pedway is now set to be complete by spring/summer 2024. Students returning to classes will also notice large advertisements calling the project West Village Square. While many will be glad that obstructions and construction noise will be gone soon, they might be surprised to learn that this two-year endeavour is rather straightforward.
“At the root of it — it is a building code project,” says Project Manager Patrick Christopher.
The goal of which is to add two new exit stairs next to the southern pillars of the pedway between buildings 7 and 8. In recent years, MacEwan has expanded in both physical size and student population, and with increased traffic between the two buildings, the university assessed that additional exits would be needed to alleviate safety concerns.
Upon completion, there will be one large vestibule (pressurized entryways similar to the SAMU building’s south entrance) on both the north and south sides of the space connecting buildings 7 and 8 and stair two sets of stairs accessible from the southern pillars.
While it is mostly a code project, Christopher also wanted it to work with the university’s current aesthetic.
“As opposed to two gaudy stairs on those pillars that are such an iconic thing for MacEwan, we’ll close in that main floor area between 7 and 8 and activate that space.”
This will create an area where students can congregate in the future and will allow for sheltered crossing along the main floor during the winter months.
“Before then, it was just basically a wind tunnel.”
While they weren’t able to match the brick exterior from building 6 and 7, they are using a sleek cladding that can handle the specific project’s “design constraints.” The cladding will be unveiled in September 2023.
Students can expect the obstructions to the second floor of buildings 7 and 8 to remain for some time. Phase two of the project during the winter semester will allow for more space along the pedway.
“The hard boarding that we have up with the banners and the white walls — we’re actually going to dismantle that at the end of September. And then put up panelling…maybe like four feet back from it,” says Christopher.
However, even though students will have more space on the pedway during the daytime, Clark Builders will be required to restrict access during the evening hours until completion in spring.
In addition to the obstructions, students should expect continued noise from the project. But thankfully, Christopher says that the lion’s share of the demolition has been completed, and noise should be reduced significantly from last year.