Upgrades to Senator Burns building continue

(Photo by Aron Diaz)

The Senator Burns building is currently being upgraded as part of a federal grant.

“Construction is under way and we are on track with construction and the upgrading,” said Chris Gerritsen, SAIT senior stakeholder and public relations specialist.

“At the end of the day, if we can help make our student experience even that much better then that’s a good thing,” said Gerritsen.

The renovations were made possible by a grant of $20.7 million provided by the federal governments Post Secondary Institutions Strategic Fund, an investment announced in 2016.

The funding has allowed SAIT to conduct upgrades to allow the buildings to better meet student needs.

As part of the renovations, the Senator Burns building is having its electrical capacity upgraded, including various power sources in order to make the building more energy efficient and lower utility costs.

“It [the Senator Burns building] is older, it was built in 1967, and as buildings age infrastructure needs to be looked at and upgraded and made better so it can last. It was built to last but that doesn’t mean things don’t need to be adjusted and fixed,” said Gerritsen.

The upgrades will also help with the fluctuating temperatures in the building.

“Senator Burns will be upgraded to better meet current and future needs,” said Gerritsen.

The building has had planned outages for certain work and large amounts of dust have tripped fire alarms. There have also been water leaks that have triggered alarms.

A power outage caused an evacuation of the building last semester.

“I hope it helps. If it’s worth it, then do it, just get it done at night,” said Tom Mallinson, a SAIT Architectural Technologies student, describing how the construction at the Senator Burns building has been less intrusive this semester.

He said that the construction was more noticeable last semester, but this semester had been an improvement.

Mallinson said that last semester he noticed the noise, a lack of men’s washrooms and closed stairwells in the Burns Building’s K-wing.

The student’s classes were affected by a power outage last semester resulting in the student and his class missing two days of school. The classes were delayed due to their need for computers.

“That was a pain and we got really behind on our work,” said Mallinson, describing how the power outage was the only major event he experienced from the construction at Burns.

The construction work in the Senator Burns building has been, for the most part, done after hours in an effort to limit the disruptions to students and staff.

“I’m happy that it’s happening, the [Senator Burns] building is due for an update,” said Betty Lynne Burwash, a SAIT Architectural Technologies student.

She said that the construction has not impacted her schooling, describing the
effects as “minimal.”

There is always the potential that the Calgary weather could delay major groundwork, but as of now the construction is expected to be completed by April 2018.

“Sometimes you have to bow to the wishes of mother nature and get that work done when you can,” said Gerritsen.

The Green Building Technologies Lab Demonstration Centre and John Ware buildings are also getting upgrades as part of the federal funding grant.

“These improvements that we’re making will definitely benefit students both now and for the future. That is important to expand and enhance the student experience,” said Gerritsen.

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