Tribune Explains: Campus Construction

To better understand seemingly never-ending construction on campus, The McGill Tribune delved into McGill’s various ongoing projects.

What structures and buildings will be affected?

There are a handful of projects that will take place within the next few years. Some of the more prominent projects include the Students’ Society of McGill University (SSMU) Building (to be finished December 2019), the Leacock Terrace (December 2020), the reconstruction of the main road (Winter 2020), and the Macdonald-Stewart Building (late 2021), which also houses the Schulich Library. Other projects that may also affect the day-to-day routines of staff and students include renovations on the Stewart Biology Building, Macdonald Engineering Building, Macdonald-Harrington Building, Education Building, the Bronfman Building and the Lyman Duff Medical Building.

Why are there so many projects taking place?

McGill is home to some of the oldest buildings in Montreal, and many of them are in need of major upgrades. For instance, the Schulich library will undergo significant and essential structural repairs and major internal upgrades, which includes the stabilization of the stone structure and the installation of a new HVAC system. Campus-dwellers may also notice an increase in projects taking place due to a recent increase in funding from the provincial and federal governments. This has allowed McGill to increase its projects budget from $80 million to $130 million per year.

Are there updates on the SSMU Building’s status?

Fabrice Labeau, Deputy Provost (Student Life and Learning), confirmed in a recent institution-wide email that the building is estimated to be finished by December 2019 (originally August 2019). As many student clubs and services were previously housed in the University Centre, SSMU officials, such as SSMU VP Student Life Billy Kawasaki, are working to schedule spaces for the new academic year.

“During the fall semester, we will continue to work together with McGill to find space for student groups elsewhere on campus,” Kawasaki said. “ We [will] offer support and insurance to student groups holding off-campus events […and] will continue to collaborate closely with McGill in order to accommodate bookings as much as we can.”

What’s happening with campus libraries, and where can I study?

The Schulich library will be closed for renovations for the next two years. When the work is completed, the library will include more spaces for studying and working, improved accessibility, restored exterior masonry, a new HVAC system, and an expanded number of washrooms. In addition to these features, McGill is working to ensure there are available study spaces for students on campus during this closure. Vincent Campbell Allaire, communications associate from the McGill Media Relations Office, is working to move 700 desks from Schulich library to McLennan-Redpath.

 “Over the months of July and August, the Library has been relocating the Schulich student study desks (approximately 700 seats) to the McLennan-Redpath Complex,” Campbell Allaire said. “The bulk of the desks will be located in a new study area on the second floor of the Redpath Library Building and on the second floor of McLennan.”

What new opportunities should students be looking out for this fall?

In addition to the new desks, the McLennan-Redpath complex will now be open 24 hours a day for the entire academic year. Furthermore, the Schulich Collection, which comprises 160,000 books, has been moved to the Redpath library basement. The Schulich reserve collection has also been moved to the main floor of McLennan in the Humanities and Social Sciences Library Self-Serve Reserves Room for quick retrieval.

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