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Loyalist College to renovate Northumberland wing this spring

By Courtney Bell [7]

BELLEVILLE – A $3.2 million renovation project in the Northumberland wing [8] of Loyalist College [9]will begin next spring to improve the overall experience for students and staff.

Mark Kirkpatrick, director of information technology and facilities services, says the idea for the project came about after the government [10]announced its strategic investment fund this summer.

“Over the summer months we went through the process of figuring out what was the best project for the college,” Kirkpatrick said. “So we went through the application process once we received the financial grant from the governments to do that basically the project became live at that point.”

Kirkpatrick says it is all about giving the students and faculty a better environment for teaching and learning.

“The best student experience, when you get right down to it, is not just teaching and spaces, but lab spaces and student spaces and how they all work together to give you the best student experience that you can have while you’re here,” he said.

There are restrictions on the federal program which will only pay for the capital building costs. It excludes furniture and new equipment. The college is looking into other ways to generate funds for new equipment and furniture.

Andrew MacPherson, part of the resource planning group, which is a pre-design consultant service, said staff and students need to be accommodated in the new space.

“Part of the work we and the engineers and architects do is to come up with a balance of the interest between the faculty and the students and finding something that works as best as it can for both groups,” he said.

During the meeting in Alumni Hall on Wednesday, MacPherson went over the goals and possible plans for the new space on the third floor.

Robin Keller, health science professor in the nursing program, voiced her concerns about possible safety and confidentiality issues with some of the potential designs shown.

“There is so much open space, whether you are a staff member meeting with another person on the team or you’re meeting with a client and giving bad news, there is very limited opportunity for for confidentiality,” she said.

MacPherson mentioned some options to accommodate her concerns. “There is a number of different design solutions that can be used – something simple like frosted glass allows natural light to come through into space , but also allows for privacy,” he said.

Mike Paquette, the overall manager, would like to see the new wing help the college attract more students.

“That’s one of our goals to create a space that future students want to come to that it gives Loyalist an edge. Our design team to create something that’s innovative and attract(ive) so the students – not just local students – but students from afar and international students,” he said.

The goal of the project is to create an area that will last long term.

“We need to create a flexible space, something that’s modern, which comes into the flexibility and is a space that’s usable for you know 20 years,” Paquette said.

Student Government [11] President Heather Williams expresses her excitement about the project: “This will be a great opportunity to revitalize classrooms and informal spaces for students. We are looking forward to the outcome of the consultation process – seeing the designs and concepts for the new third floor Northumberland wing.

The project is starting in April 2017 and the outline for the new space will be final by late February to mid-March.