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Monday, April 30, 2001

  • UW breaks ground for new centre
  • What's going into the building
  • Last day of the fiscal year
  • This could be the start of something big

UW breaks ground for new centre

[Brick and glass] Dignitaries will dig today, wielding ceremonial spades to officially begin construction of the $31.2 million Centre for Environmental and Information Technology (CEIT), pictured at right in an architect's sketch.

The sod turning ceremony on the site of former parking lot B1, starting at 10 a.m., has been awaited for almost a decade. Government funding for the building was proposed in 1993, approved in 1994, cancelled in 1996, proposed again, and finally approved again last year under the SuperBuild program. The structure is now expected to open in 2003.

The province is providing $21.8 million, and UW is responsible for the balance of construction costs -- about $9.4 million -- as well as for a maintenance endowment of $8.25 million. So far, $3 million has been contributed through fund raising, and an additional $3 million is available from funds provided through the provincial Access to Opportunities program (ATOP), designed to boost enrolment in information technology programs. The balance yet to be raised stands at $11.65 million.

What's going into the building

As the financial outlook for the new building shifted, so to did the plans for its use. The facility was originally designed to provide some 75 per cent of its space for the science faculty and 25 per cent for engineering. Last spring, the balance shifted to 50 per cent for science and 50 per cent for math and engineering.

A further rejigging of the 169,730 square feet of space in the five-storey structure will now give the earth sciences department -- currently housed mainly in the B. F. Goodrich building on Columbia Street -- space for offices and laboratories on the ground floor, and on the second and fifth levels. As well, the environmental studies faculty will have a corner of the second floor to accommodate researchers who have links with earth sciences.

Electrical and computer engineering labs and offices for graduate students, faculty and administration will be located on the third and fourth floors.

"A lot of people need to provide input into the process," says university architect Dan Parent, who met with different groups almost weekly for nearly four months.

The math faculty, which had been promised additional space in CEIT for its computer science department, will be accommodated in parts of the Davis Centre formerly occupied by the engineering faculty. A "rearrangement of space" was worked out "in the interests of trying to keep the departments in contiguous spaces," explains acting provost and former dean of math Alan George, who negotiated the shuffle with engineering dean Sujeet Chaudhuri and the chairs of computer science and electrical and computer engineering. Accomplished in only two meetings, the deal "is a reflection of how well the two faculties and two departments work together," says George. The computer science department is already located in the Davis Centre, and electrical and computer engineering will continue to occupy some space there, as well.

Also housed in the CEIT will be a 150-seat lecture theatre and a new location for exhibits from the present sciences museum, which will take centre stage in the atrium, "a cavernous space in the centre of the building," says Parent.

The brick exterior will provide an aesthetic link to surrounding buildings, and actual physical links will connect CEIT to the Physics building, to the Davis Centre, and to Earth Sciences and Chemistry.

Environmental conservation has been built into the design, with a heat recovery system, improved insulation levels and window glass that will reduce heat gain from the sun, Parent added.

Following the sod turning, construction fences will go up, trailers will move onto the site, and excavation is scheduled to begin in early May.

Last day of the fiscal year

The 2000-01 fiscal year for UW winds up today, a year in which slightly more than $200 million has been spent on salaries, benefits, computers, utility bills, books and the other things a university needs. That's not counting research funding, and it also doesn't count the self-supporting businesses UW operates, such as the bookstore and food services -- just the "operating budget", financed mostly from government grants and student fees. The most recent estimate was that there would be a deficit of $701,000 in this fiscal year, meaning that the university spent $1,920 more than it took in each day of the past 365.

So that staff can take inventory at year-end, several of the graphics copy centres will close at noon today: those in Humanities, the Davis Centre, Engineering II, and Math, plus Graphics Express (in the Dana Porter Library) and the Pixel Pub. (in the Student Life Centre). Other graphics outlets will be open this afternoon, but jobs received after 12 noon won't be processed before tomorrow.

It's much the same with food services: Browsers (in the Dana Porter Library), Pastry Plus (in Needles Hall) and Brubakers (in the Student Life Centre) will all close at 1:00 this afternoon. If I have it right, the only food outlets operating this afternoon will be Bookends (in South Campus Hall) and Tim Horton's (in the Davis Centre and in Modern Languages).

At least, that's if we don't count the Right Angle Café in the Math and Computer building, which is operated not by the food services department but by the Math Society. "It is still open," an e-mail note reminded me on Friday, "and provides everything from bottled water to entrées. It is the only place on campus (that I know of) where you can still get a jumbo cup of tea (green, fruit, Earl Grey, English Breakfast, etc.) for $.50. However, I keep asking for Lapsang Souchong but they just don't want to sell it in the small packets."

[IBM copy paper wrapper]
Phantom plastics: Many people don't know it, but the wrappers on packages of paper typically contain a layer of plastic. (To see it, wet the wrapper and rub off the top layer of paper.) Result: the paper inside may be recyclable, but the wrapper itself is a contaminant and should not be recycled. Throw it in the trash, says UW's waste management coordinator, Patti Cook.

This could be the start of something big

While the CEIT groundbreaking is scheduled for this morning, the ground is already pretty extensively broken on the other side of campus -- the site of the new co-op and career services building, beside the main University Avenue entrance. A number of trees have been taken out, there are great gouges in the earth, heavy equipment is on the scene, and as I walked by this morning, a pair of geese were stomping away in disgust at the disturbance. And within days it'll be hard to remember exactly how the south face of the campus used to look.

Orientation for new international students is scheduled for today: participants will meet at the Student Life Centre at 9:15 and visit a number of locations around campus, including the athletics department, the library, health services and (just in time for lunch) the Graduate House.

The libraries are open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today, with services closing at 5 p.m. Tomorrow, regular spring term hours begin.

Ah yes, the spring term. Classes begin tomorrow, bright and early, and there will be many students on campus today, getting the paperwork done and settling in. Signs on the Needles Hall doors indicate that most documents, such as fee receipts, schedules and Ontario Student Assistance Program loan documents, should be picked up from the registrar's office on the second floor.

The key control office will be open during the noon hour this week, as it is for a few days at the beginning of each term when many new keys are issued.

An information and registration session about the Weight Watchers at Work program is scheduled for today at 12 noon in Humanities room 373. Susan Baumbach in the registrar's office (sebaumba@admmail) can provide more information.

The co-op education and career services department holds its once-a-term professional development day today, with most sessions being held at St. Paul's United College. The department's training committee explains what's on offer: "In the morning take your pick from one of 3 jam-packed sessions, all presented by 'UW's own'. Their inside edge is guaranteed to help you do your job better. Over the lunch hour we invite you to the virtual unveiling of the new CECS building. Ah, the final plans. In the p.m. we have a chance to see UW. We are guided by the Visitors Centre ambassadors, faculty, and staff around the campus. You choose the tour! Each is designed specifically to give our staff not only background information and points of interest about UW, but also an overview of specific 'features' in each faculty such as labs and museums."

A note from the local Volunteer Action Centre: "Waterloo Regional Library is looking for Volunteer Computer Teacher Assistants at branches in Wellesley, Baden, St. Jacobs, and Elmira. This position involves helping library patrons with basic computer use including navigating the desktop, opening programs and files and using the Internet. This position is ideal for someone who has used a computer at home or has taken some computer courses. Volunteers have an opportunity to gain teaching or work experience, explore career options or learn more about the community. This is a flexible position which requires only 3-4 hours a week afternoons or evenings." For more information, the VAC can be reached at 742-8610.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Friday's Bulletin
Copyright © 2001 University of Waterloo