St. Lawrence College cut the ribbon on its $42-million expansion project on Friday.
The 80,000-square-foot Student Life and Innovation Centre breathes new life into the Kingston college. The building took almost two years to complete but will house a number of desperately needed spaces for students at the school.
“This facility will help bring students together, both athletics and sports,” says Glenn Vollebregt, CEO and president of St. Lawrence College.
The massive project is the largest expansion and renewal the college has ever seen. When you walk into the new facility, its focal point is a new double gymnasium with a state-of-the-art fitness area overlooking the gym.
One addition students are looking forward to is the school’s first watering hole in more than 30 years — now, they will have a hangout called St. Larry’s Pub.
“It’s a really great place for students to come after class, hang out and have a drink or two,” says Jesse Sibanda, president of the St. Lawrence Student Association.
There are a number of specialized learning spaces as well, including a fitness and health promotion classroom, an Indigenous studies space and a new studio space for the Music and Digital Media program at the college.
Lane Duke, an aspiring musician in the program, says the new studio is a huge upgrade from the previous study space.
“It was an old farmhouse so this is state-of-the-art,” says Duke. “All of the equipment has been moved over, there’s soundproof rooms. This new one allows us to build our portfolios.”
Sibanda is also excited about the college’s new expansion.
“All of those centres run some of our most recruited programs, and they were held in older spaces. This need was kind of important to those students,” says Sibanda.
Another part of the construction job, called the Hello Future Project, was the restoration of a heritage building on site. The Newcourt House underwent major renovations, bringing it up to LEED standards. It will now be used for the school’s Behavioural Studies program, giving students an opportunity to gain practical experience in their field.
Officials say the campus expansion is based on a student referendum held two years ago.
“Part of the college experience is the culture and environment. Our students deserve this, and they are getting it,” says Vollebregt.
The Student Life and Innovation Centre was the fourth phase of St. Lawrence’s expansion project. The Kingston campus also saw a revitalization of more than 22,000 square feet of existing space, including student services and the Innovation Hub, a home for graphic design and marketing studies.
The project’s more than $40-million cost was partly financed through student tuition, with $10 million going toward the upgrades.