While most of the SFU community is working and learning from home due to COVID-19, SFU Facilities Services has been making the best of a difficult situation.
In late March, the B.C. government deemed construction work an “essential service”. As a result, crews have been working through the pandemic on construction projects across SFU’s three campuses.
“COVID-19 has allowed us to expedite many of our projects,” says Ian Abercrombie, director, campus planning and development. “But while we want to take advantage of this opportunity, our first duty is keeping staff, contractors and the SFU community safe.”
Contractors and staff continuing to work from campus are following COVID-19 safety procedures laid out by WorkSafe BC, including frequent hand-washing and physical distancing.
“The projects we’re working on, from upgraded educational facilities to vital maintenance and upkeep, will be something the community can look forward to upon their return to campus,” says Abercrombie.
Over the next few weeks, we’re taking a look at some of the facilities updates currently underway at each of SFU’s campuses—starting with three exciting projects on Burnaby mountain.
The AQ’s original plaza surface was laid in 1965 and designed to last 50 years. By the time the plaza renewal project started in late 2018, poor drainage on the tiling was causing leaks and large puddles, making the concourse difficult to navigate.
During Phase 1, the team installed new granite tiles, a waterproof membrane, ramps for better accessibility, and new landscaping and furniture in the AQ 4000 level and the stairs and walkways around Convocation Mall.
Phase 2, which will install similar upgrades in Convocation Mall, the Transportation Centre and Freedom Square, is scheduled for completion by December 2020.
One of this project’s biggest challenges has been scheduling construction activities while minimizing impacts on community members studying and working in nearby buildings. Remote teaching and learning during the spring and summer has made this balancing act much easier to manage.
“With fewer people on campus, we’re seeing fewer delays due to noise,” says George Venini, senior project manager. “We also planned on shutting down construction in Freedom Square to accommodate spring convocation ceremonies, but with ceremonies moved online, we were able to work through that period.”