In a project that has been pushing forward since May 2016, the upgrades to Piikani House are nearing completion.
Scaffolding is moving around and coming down as the exterior of the 25-year-old residence received a face-lift. A more modern look and water-tight exterior is the result for Piikani House with a few more updates to add says Facilities Project Manager, Ed de Bruin.
“We’re also adding a floor-to-ceiling transparent barrier to the small, exterior balcony on the fourth floor so that students can take full advantage of the space,” says de Bruin. “This way even when the wind is blowing as hard as it likes, residents can soak up some sunlight, the view and enjoy it comfortably.”
Steve Brodrick, Director of Housing Services, adds there are a few more improvements being made to the building that will enhance the student experience too.
“Although the primary objective of this renovation is the completion of required structural upgrades, we have taken the opportunity where possible to enhance social spaces and add some additional amenities to further enrich the student experience,” says Brodrick. “We are excited about the upgrades to the corridor lighting as this will further contribute to the establishment of a warm and welcoming space that supports our students’ academic pursuits and personal growth.”
With upgrades to the building exterior including new tinted windows, spray foam insulation and Hardie Panel, Piikani House will also become more energy efficient. These upgrades coupled with improved lighting advance Housing Service’s goals of having a greener and more sustainable residence community which they recognize as something that is important to students.
A few other highlights of the upgrade include an outdoor and BBQ seating area which is being partially funded by the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union and Organization of Residence Students along with Housing Services, improvements to ensure the main entry of the building is more visible and the addition of fixed seating by the study room windows.
De Bruin says the upgrades have been moving forward on time and on budget with his focus now moving towards the completion of the project in May. As Piikani House is completed, the work will then move to neighbouring residence. Kainai House will then be closed for renovations and reopen in the fall of 2018, ready to house new students.
As for the students who will be welcomed into the newly renovated building in September, Brodrick says he’s excited to see how they settle in.
“We know from experience that intentional building design, physical environment and the feel of a space helps to shape the community atmosphere that we seek to foster in residence,” says Brodrick. “All aspects of this project have been intentionally designed to ensure that students who choose to live on campus have access to a community and a facility that supports their academic pursuits and personal growth."