“The focus of the study obviously has security related to it, but it’s really about looking at the overall environment here and what we can do to improve that for all the stakeholders that use the facility,” said Robert Pawliuk, director of operations for facilities at the U of A.
Over the past several months, security concerns have been raised at the mall and residence at the Edmonton campus. HUB Mall is a public retail space that also houses about 800 students on a six-floor residence. Up until now, the building was open 24/7.
“Do we need to secure the building? And the primary result is yes, we do,” Pawliuk said. “Really, we need to secure the building after hours. Right now it’s open 24/7, anybody can come in and go through at anytime of day and that’s not necessarily conducive to a residence building.
“You walk up to an apartment building today, it’s usually locked. You can’t just walk right in and roam the hallways. So we’re looking at securing the doors initially with key access and down the road from a phasing point, if it makes sense to put card access on, we’ll do that.”
Security enhancements will be done in a phased approach, Pawliuk said.
Over the summer, the university will retrofit 100 interior and exterior doors at HUB, installing key locks on the ground level and adding card access at the mall level.
“At the mall level, that’s a little different thing. It’s not locked every day, full time, 24/7 — it locks and unlocks,” Pawliuk said.
“So the better way for us to deal with that is through card access, so you can use a system to unlock first thing in the morning and lock at the end of the day, as opposed to having somebody going around and lock doors.”
Pawliuk said a committee is also looking at overall safety and security at all of the university’s campuses. A report that was just finalized also recommends additional peace and security officers be deployed at “hot spots” around the campus.
“HUB Mall is one of those places that’s been identified for that. So we’re assuming that our community action team will spend a bit of time here.”
Future safety recommendations include video camera surveillance, improved lighting, improved wayfinding and signage.
The university plans to have the security enhancements in place by the end of August.
WATCH: Students call for security enhancements following HUB incidents. Albert Delitala explains. (Filed December 2018).