February 2020

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 34 of 55

F E B R U A R Y 2 0 2 0 | 35 East Village – Thompson Rivers University P H OTO G R A P H Y BY A N D R E W S N U C I N S/CO U RT E SY T H O M P S O N R I V ER S U N I V ER S I T Y EAST VILLAGE – THOMPSON RIVERS UNIVERSITY by LAURA WALKER W orking to ensure their stu- dents can live where they study, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) has introduced the latest addition to its offering of on- campus housing: East Village. TRU has been experiencing a growing student enrolment, particu- larly among its international student population and as TRU's manager of facilities, Dillon Alexandre explains, "With that growth, came an increase in housing demands in the community. "In our conversations with the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, they indicated a desire to provide students with alter- native housing options rather than relying on basement suites to meet that demand." In response, and with the help of the Government of British Columbia, TRU acquired a series of buildings known as Upper College Heights in June 2018, explains Alexandre: "The buildings, however, were not up to TRU standards and required signifi- cant investment to ensure they were suitable for students." TRU undertook the renovation to update 64 suites that offer approxi- mately 250 beds among them. "The existing landscaping was in fairly good shape and we didn't do much to the exterior of the buildings, but inside you'll find substantial improve- ments, including upgraded Wi-Fi, new smoke detectors, and a number of structural improvements to all build- ings," explains Alexandre. The property's five buildings, which were originally built in 1992 and 1993, feature a concrete and stucco exterior. Suites are contained in four of the buildings – all four sto- reys in height – while a fifth building is two-storeys tall and houses admin- istration, laundry, and a common area for students that includes a pool table and T V. "Through our renovation we were able to add 17 beds to the property, con- verting apartment-style units into quad-style units that feature four bed- rooms and a common kitchen area," says Alexandre, noting that as the property was not initially designated student housing, non-student tenants still reside in some of the units. "As they move out, those units will also be con- verted to quads, which will bring our total number of available beds to 431." Within East Village, students can choose between four-bedroom suites or two-bedroom apartments, both of which are fully furnished. Each suite comes with a private bedroom, bath- room, full kitchen and dining area, while apartments, which include all these amenities, plus a spacious living area, a balcony and air conditioning, are intended for upper-year students. "Upon entering a quad, you will find a main kitchen area with two bed- rooms to the left and two to the right," describes Alexandre. "Walking down the corridor, you will find the bath- room with a new vanity, new Arborite countertops, and new mirrors." Each unit features new vinyl plank flooring, which Alexandre says has been complemented with new light furniture and fresh paint. "We installed new beds and mattresses, and repaired windowsills as needed. All ceiling lights were replaced with LEDs, and units were painted to match the colours that were already in the buildings." Renovations also saw the buildings' conversion to high-efficiency HVAC and the installation of high-efficiency boilers and new heat pumps to reduce operating costs and minimize down time. "We also included an electric vehicle charging station in the parking lot, and we have plans for installation of solar panel array," says Alexandre. The project's timeline was the most significant challenge, as rooms needed to be ready for students for the fall 2019 semester. "We hit our target due to additional staffing and working closely with contractors, with every- one working hard to ensure we met our deadline," explains Alexandre. "Another challenge was co-ordinat- ing the order in which we renovated rooms with many moving parts, including the number of students moving in and out at different times." East Village is unique in that it is the largest scale project TRU has done in-house. "At the time of purchase, it wasn't in great shape, so to see it now compared to then, it's significant," says Alexandre. "The team did an excellent job bringing the property up to TRU standards. East Village is now a property our University can take a lot of pride in." "When students have access to homes they can afford, they can focus on their studies without the stress of trying to find a suitable place to live," says Selina Robinson, minis- ter of municipal affairs and housing, in a statement. "At the end of the day, the benefits of this investment will be felt by the entire community. More on-campus spaces for students will increase the availability of rental housing in the wider community, and that will help improve the affordabil- ity of rental housing for everyone in Kamloops." A LOCATION 704 McGill Road, Kamloops, B.C. OWNER /DEVELOPER / GENER AL CONTR ACTOR Thompson Rivers University ARCHITECT/STRUCTUR AL /MECHANICAL / ELECTRICAL CONSULTANT Stantec Inc. TOTAL SIZE 344,800 square feet TOTAL COST $5 million INTERIOR PLUMBING & HEATING LTD MECHANICAL CONTRACTORS A proud member of the East Village - Thompson Rivers University. Call Interior Plumbing & Heating 250-372-3441 Serving the community for over 60 years * GEOTHERMAL * PLUMBING * H.V.A.C. * GAS FITTING * FIRE PROTECTION Interior Plumbing_AWARD_0220.indd 1 2/10/20 10:24 AdvancedElectrical1_16.pdf 1 1/17/20 10:15 AM April 2020 ANNUAL INDUSTRY FEATURE: Steel Building Systems Book your ad space now: Dan Chapman 604.473.0316 Alexander Sugden 604.473.0358

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Award - February 2020