Ward Chipman Refurbishment Project Goals are “Student-Centric”: Update statements released by Robert MacKinnon speak of the building’s bright future

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The Ward Chipman Library, which has stood empty since the opening of the Hans W. Klohn Commons in 2011, will be undergoing a few changes that may excite a great portion of the campus population.  

Recently, UNBSJ released a statement regarding the refurbishment project that has been running since February 2012. In it, they reviewed the progress that has been made on the endeavour so far and listed goals for the future, including four themes prioritized for further discussion that may reveal possibilities for the building’s fate.

The four themes, according to the statement are “student-centric” and were developed by an Executive Committee made up of the university’s vice president, the associate vice president, the assistant vice president and three faculty deans. The themes came from a list of “proposals and ideas submitted” in February 2012 by faculty, staff and students who were asked to send suggestions as to how the Ward Chipman could be used.

The Committee reviewed the list, and chose the four items as the most important. They will be discussed further as the project advances. The themes include: “an international centre which [incorporates] certain aspects of Saint John College’s programming, student services and… support units, dedicated student space” and space for multi-use.

Other updates on the project were added to the statement, which went on to speak of the “Request for Proposals for Facility Programming and Planning Services” issued in November of 2012. The request called for companies who wished to head the physical part of the refurbishment project. An Evaluation Committee was formed to review the applications submitted and after much deliberation, settled on Sasaki Associates Inc., a company already familiar to the campus, to lead.

Sasaki was the lead architect for the new Commons building; during February and March, they will be holding several meetings with a variety of committees—including a User’s Committee consisting of faculty, staff and students—who represent the four themes listed.

In the release, UNBSJ’s vice president, Dr. Robert MacKinnon says, “it is expected that a space plan for the building will be developed, based on the themes identified and presented in late April, or early May.”

MacKinnon is “looking forward to [the] continued involvement from the campus community as [they] move forward.” More updates will be released as the project moves forward.