Delayed renovations disrupt campus library

Why one of Capilano University’s largest collaborative areas still remains off limits to students

John Tabbernor // Community Relations Manager

New and returning students to Capilano University’s North Shore campus have had their collaborative space on the main floor of the library disrupted by ongoing renovations.

Noise in the library has been a growing concern, not just for students, but library staff as well, who have been asking for action on this issue for years.

A major factor in these complaints comes from the library’s construction and its open spaces. Noise bouncing off of hard surfaces creates reverb that travels throughout the library and even into the second floor study area, which is a designated quiet workspace.

To date, there has never been enough funding to address the noise…

To date, there has never been enough funding to address the issue of the noise, but this fiscal year the University was able to set aside $300,000 from the Ministry of Education’s Capital Funding program. These funds, totalling $1.2 million for 2017, are strictly to be used for campus infrastructure.

Mark Clifford, director of Contract Services and Capital Planning for CapU, said that an acoustic consultant was brought in to conduct a study on the reverb and noise levels in the library. From there, an architect was hired to design updates based on those recommendations. “We then competitively bid it. Under the government legislation, anything over a certain dollar value must be competitively bid on the market. We then awarded the contract to the low bid to our spec,” he said.

The contractors are in the process of installing acoustic batting and cloth to cover 70 per cent of the ceiling along with glass dividers at the top of the stairs to prevent noise from travelling. They will also be installing a door at the top of the stairs to keep as much noise out of the quiet study area as possible.

On top of these changes, a new wall is to be put up near the banks of computers next to the Student Success Centre. Upon completion of the renovations, the acoustic consultant will return to measure the difference in noise and reverb.

Though it was expected that the renovations would be complete by the first week of the fall semester, they have fallen two to three weeks behind schedule.

The current construction on the main floor of the library should be completed by the week of Sept. 25. “You always run into issues with construction. We have to always time it so that we start in May. You try to get things going and mobilized so that we get things done by September when students are back,” said Clifford. “We always try to get things done in the summer months, but it can be tough as it’s a short period of time.”

Clifford added that CapU’s next major project is an overhaul to the University’s aging water infrastructure. This will most likely begin next summer and will have major impacts across campus. The work will involve digging up roads to access the existing system along with updating re hydrants. This project will again draw from the funding provided by the provincial government.

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