At nine storeys, the new residence building under construction at the University of Prince Edward Island will be the tallest building on campus.
Work has been underway more than a year, and despite the pandemic, university officials say the project remains on schedule.
"We are on time and we will be opening in the fall of 2022 in time for Canada Games," said Jackie Podger, vice-president administration and finance at UPEI.
"Athletes will be the first inhabitants in our residence."
As the province ramps up for the Canada Winter Games in early 2023, the UPEI residence is a key piece of infrastructure. The province has contributed $20 million, with UPEI shouldering the remainder of the $60 million project.
In recent days, bricklayers have begun work on the exterior of the building's lower floors. In addiction to the nine-storey tower at the building's north end, there's a five-storey tower to the south. This fall, walls of glass, steel and composite siding will be installed along University Avenue, and on the two towers.
The building is intended to be unique, according to Podger.
"It's not a square box," said Podger. "It will be a very different building but we made sure that it will also fit with the rest of campus and it will really complement our other buildings."
The 260-bed facility will include two classrooms on its lower floors, as well as a 425-seat theatre. The theatre will be used by the music and theatre arts students, and will serve as a lecture hall for large, undergraduate classes.
"We have a demand for that," said Podger. "We have a great music program and performing arts program. Those folks have typically been in our Steel Recital Hall and so the need was there to expand."
Steel Recital Hall is also up for renovations, with upgrades to sound and lighting systems, and new accessible washrooms and seating.
UPEI currently has a waiting list of students who want to live on campus, according to Podger.
This fall, most classes will be conducted in person, rather than online, as the campus emerges from pandemic restrictions, she said.
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