Societies relocate for SUB renovations over the summer

Major renovations on the Dalhousie Student Union Building start this May, which will make the building more environmentally friendly and create a new ‘Society Hub’ on the third floor.

Major renovations to Dalhousie University’s Student Union Building (the SUB) are beginning this May. Though the renovations are set to be done in 18 months, the most disruptive parts of construction are going to take place during the summers.

The DSU offices and the societies who have offices in the SUB are being relocated over the summer during the renovations. They need to be packed up and moved by the end of April.

The Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG) is one of the societies with an office on the third floor of the SUB. They are sharing the Wellness Room with the Loaded Ladle over the summer.

“We’ve had a lot of knowledge about the renovations but we don’t have much knowledge about the process … like when we’re going to move out,” said Holly Lobsinger, a NSPIRG board member.

She thinks the moving process will be difficult, especially because NSPIRG is bringing its library to its temporary space.

Lobsinger believes they will “be down to the bare minimum of functioning” over the summer because there will be limited access to their resources. In moving to a smaller space, she expects the way the NSPIRG office is used as a meeting place will change.

Other societies in the SUB, like the Dalhousie Science Society (DSS), are not active during the summer. Most of their things will be put into storage.

The renovations will also create the Society Hub on the third floor, a more central space for societies.

The Society Hub will have 12 private offices for larger societies, desks and cabinets that can be used by smaller societies, a full service copy centre, a formal meeting room, an informal meeting room and a kitchenette.

“I’m looking forward to not sharing the space,” said Tori Taylor, president of the DSS. Currently, the DSS and NSPIRG offices are in the same room, separated by dividers.

This shows what the renovated SUB should look like from University Avenue. (Photo courtesy the DSU).
This shows what the renovated SUB should look like from University Avenue. (Photo from the DSU)

Renovations

The SUB opened in 1968 when Dalhousie had 4,500 students. Since then, Dalhousie’s student population has increased to over 18,000, but these are the first major renovations to the building.

The project, first proposed in 2010, is expected to create more comfortable social and work spaces for students.

The design is being headed by Lydon Lynch Architects, who also designed the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market.

The first expansion will include a canopy over the University Avenue entrance that will create an extra 1,500 square feet needed for the DSU’s new 50-seat council chambers. About half the student area will also be renovated this summer.

During the second expansion, a glass atrium will be built around the canopy. There will be another glass atrium added facing LeMarchant Street. This atrium will be about 5,500 square feet and will most likely serve as a social space.

The renovations are also going to make the building more environmentally sustainable through more natural lighting, plants, a green roof, solar panels and rainwater collection for toilets.