The University Centre Revitalization Project, the ongoing plan to renovate and improve the University Centre building, is once again underway at University of Manitoba.
For the past few weeks, students have made their way around construction while the staircases between the first and second floor and the exit staircases at the west end of the building are being tiled.
“The stairs and entire main floor are being retiled as the original tiles were becoming damaged and the sub-floor was shifting,” said Murray Elfenbaum, administrative coordinator for Ancillary Services at the U of M.
Elfenbaum added the university has no supplier for replacement tiles because they are not made anymore.
Since University Centre’s construction in 1970, both major and minor repair work on the building has been done.
In recent years, University Centre has undergone a significant makeover, with renovations to the food court area, the Tim Hortons outlet on the second floor, the kitchen upgrade to Degrees, as well as the addition of the Rogers Airsource store.
Along with these renovations, the university has also installed decorative murals as well as adding seating for students in the Fireplace Lounge.
University administration decided repair work on the stairways was necessary in order to improve the safety and accessibility of the building, said Elfenbaum.
To allow students to get to classes and to reduce the impact of the noise of the construction, most of work is being done overnight, he said. He added that workers will not work in the evenings when a special event is taking place in the building.
“There have been few complaints, and complainants are appeased when they understand the necessity of those constructions,” said Elfenbaum.
Nevertheless, constructions may still cause some trouble for students.
Camille LeBlond, a language instructor at the U of M, said she often forgets that the University Centre stairs are blocked by construction and needs to make a U-turn and take another route.
Keverley Malawski, a fourth-year student in the faculty of kinesiology and recreation management, said she has trouble getting around the campus building because of the renovations.
“It can be a minor inconvenience, but they are doing renovations to improve the accessibility, so it doesn’t bother me,” she said.
Elfenbaum said the university is doing its best to communicate with students and staff about the project.
“We inform tenants and staff; we put out updated information on [ . . . ] the campus website,” he said.
The current construction is paid for by improvement funds from central administration’s building.
The university expects that the final phase of the floor and staircase retiling will be completed somewhere between the December holiday break and the new year.
Once this current project is complete, there should be no more construction of the University Centre in the near future, with the exception of some painting and sign installation on the fourth floor, expected to be finished in the coming months.