Site chosen for new SFU Student Union Building

A rendering of the location for the new Student Union Building at SFU. - SIMON FRASER STUDENT SOCIETY
A rendering of the location for the new Student Union Building at SFU.

Mario Bartel

Simon Fraser University’s new Student Union Building will be located on the south side of Freedom Square, between the Maggie Benston Centre and the Academic Quadrangle.

The location was revealed on the Simon Fraser Student Society website last Thursday after an extensive consultation process involving students, focus groups and an online survey. A social media campaign as well as roving street teams of Build SFU ambassadors will make students aware of the site this week as they return to classes.

The site, known as Crossroads, was preferred over two other sites, including Main Street located over the transportation centre bus stops at the top of Gaglardi Way, and Treehouse, near the residences and Lorne Davies athletic complex.

Students indicated a preference for the Crossroads site because of its central location and proximity to classes, said Marc Fontaine, Build SFU’s general manager.

“An important part of student life is what happens between classes,” said Fontaine. “This is really the building that has the opportunity to bring students together, make it the heart of the campus.

The design phase of the project is expected to begin this fall, with construction scheduled to start in the spring of 2015. When it’s completed in 2017, the new 100,000-square-foot Student Union Building will be home to student organizations and clubs, meeting and multi-use space, a lounge as well as the student society’s administrative offices.

Fontaine said about a third of the space will just be a place for students to meet and hang out, something the campus has lacked since it was built in the 1960s.

“It was designed to have little pockets all around campus, but that hasn’t made for a cohesive centre for people to meet,” said Fontaine.

The Student Union Building is being designed by the Vancouver architectural firm Perkins + Will, which also designed the distinctive Brentwood SkyTrain station as well as the renovation of the Discovery 1 building at SFU.

It’s the first phase of the $65-million Build SFU project that also includes a 2,500-seat stadium at Terry Fox field, which Fontaine said is still on track to also be built by 2017. While the original concept was to combine the two elements of the project in one facility, now that they’ve been separated some adjustments will have to be made to keep the project on budget.

“It will mean there will be some costs that can’t be shared anymore,” said Fontaine. But many of those will be offset by cheaper construction costs for the Student Union Building site.

The project is being funded by a special $10 levy per semester on every full-time student beginning this month. The levy will increase by $10 every year, capping at $90 per student, per semester, until 2022. The levy was approved by students in a special referendum last March.


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