Tuesday, September 30, 2008

  • Making room for new buildings . . .
  • . . . and cutting down on campus cars
  • Damp Homecoming 'anything but dull'
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Making room for new buildings . . .

Surface parking lots on the main campus would just about disappear, a new “central corridor” of open space would be defined, and the campus would have an important new entrance — “a new urban edge” — on Phillip Street, if proposals by a consulting firm are eventually approved as parts of UW’s campus master plan.

The broad strokes of the proposals are on display this week, and comments are invited before the board of governors gets a new master plan to approve within the next few months. It would be an updating of the existing plan, approved in 1992, before north campus development became a reality and before such current projects as the Quantum-Nano Centre were imagined.

“The University of Waterloo is in a constant state of change and continued growth,” say the consultants from Urban Strategies, the Toronto-based successor to the firm that wrote the 1992 plan. “In 2007, the Board of Governors determined it needed an update to the 1992 Campus Master Plan to guide the needs of the future. Opportunities for development in the heart of the campus were constrained and it was not clear where future growth should be directed.”

The new document answers that question firmly: around the edges of the existing south campus, particularly on parking lots at the Columbia Street and University Avenue ends of campus and on the “east campus lands” between the railway track and Phillip Street, where Engineering V is already under construction.

“The outer edges of the Ring Road promise large parcels for new development and university expansion,” says a plan summary that’s available online. It estimates that UW will need 1.5 million square feet of new academic space, and 2 million square feet of space for research and technology establishments, over the next few years.

Its proposal: “The setting and image of the University of Waterloo will be maintained and enhanced to create a high quality environment for the university community, prospective students, Faculty and visitors. A focus on placemaking will guide renewal of existing landscapes and buildings as well as new growth and development. Significant investment will be made in the varied landscapes of the South Campus to enhance the setting for new and existing buildings, and new construction will be held to high standards of design.”

[Red path against green campus]The report even offers possible names for some of those newly made places, such as the Dana Porter Court, the North and South Common, College Crossing and Village Crossing. But the most important place would be “a north-south circulation spine”, broadening in two areas, narrowing to a walkway in others. Though the report doesn’t go into detail, drawings seem to make clear that South Campus Hall would be demolished in favour of more attractive — and larger — buildings at the south end of the campus. The walkway is also shown going right through the existing Physics building (left).

The redesigned campus would have “gateways” at the present Columbia Street and University Avenue entrances, and also at Phillip Street, where a new approach to the campus would feature “a dynamic mix of uses, open spaces and higher density development”.

Back to top

. . . and cutting down on campus cars

A major unanswered question in campus planning is the route of the planned Waterloo Region rapid transit system. If it runs north-south along the existing railway tracks, there would be a station roughly across from Carl Pollock Hall. If it runs along University Avenue toward Wilfrid Laurier University on the way to downtown, then the station would be between UW Place and the present parking lot A.

Either way, the design of the campus would provide “an improved sense of arrival for visitors travelling by car, transit, bicycle or on foot.” The campus would feature “a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle trail network”, not just on the south campus but linking it to the Research and Technology Park, the “northwest campus” beyond Columbia Lake Village, and the city of Waterloo and the rest of Waterloo Region.

At the same time, “vehicular traffic within the Ring Road will be limited,” and on the ring road itself, “traffic calming measures will be implemented . .. tree plantings, speed tables and humps, alternative paving materials and/or narrowed road widths.” In the long term, a goal would be to reduce the number of people who come to campus in cars, as demand for parking is expected to exceed the supply within a decade.

Three big parking garages are imagined, one each at University Avenue (on part of the present parking lot C), at Columbia Street and at Phillip Street, replacing most of the existing surface parking. There would also be “a comprehensive transportation demand management program” making it easier for people to travel in other ways: transit passes, improved bike facilities, an on-campus shuttle service, telecommuting, and efforts to help students, staff and faculty live close to campus.

The proposals have been drawn up by Toronto-based Urban Strategies Inc. under the guidance of a steering committee that included UW administration, members of the board of governors, and faculty, students and staff. “Many people with a stake in the future of the campus were interviewed early in the process,” the report notes, and there was an open house last spring at which comments were invited about many of the themes that appear in the current draft.

Displays of the new proposals are on view this week and next week in the Student Life Centre and in the Davis Centre library, and the full 30-page document, dubbed a “consultation workbook”, is available online. Comments are invited, and should be sent to Erin Windibank in the university secretariat (e-mail ewindibank@uwaterloo.ca) no later than October 10.

Back to top

[Holding hands]

Unidentified alumni in the stands at Warrior Field on Saturday afternoon. Photo by Andrew Smith.

Damp Homecoming 'anything but dull'

by Beth Bohnert, office of alumni affairs

The skies may have been grey over Waterloo on Saturday, but Homecoming 2008 was anything but dull.

The misty morning opened with a record number of participants lacing up for the AHS Fun Run. Meanwhile, the north campus was transformed into a giant playground where, despite the drizzle, dozens of future alumni scaled a huge bouncy castle and schmoozed with special guests Dora the Explorer and Diego.

On the south campus, the East Asian Festival’s exotic colours and flavours provided a contrast to the tranquility of the Modern Languages art gallery, where viewers could browse and bid on a variety of artwork, from oils to ceramics.

It was anything but quiet at Warrior Field, where 2,200 football fans packed the bleachers to witness the 2008 Battle of Waterloo. Although Dave Sevigny’s field goal in the third quarter gave hope of a UW victory, the Hawks eventually won 38-23.

But there was little time to mourn. As the final whistle blew, The Trews took the stage nearby, drawing an appreciative audience of about 500 people. The East Coast band’s energetic rock tunes (punctuated at one point by a honkytonk piano solo) had the crowd singing along and cheering until the very last note.

“The fact that we had so many attendees this year, even with the rain, tells us we have a good mix of Homecoming activities,” said coordinator Chantel Franklin. “Now we just have to get the weather to cooperate.”

Homecoming 2009 is September 26.


Back to top

Thinking pink tomorrow

UW's retail stores will be participating in the nationwide "The Shirt, The Cause, The Day" initiative tomorrow, along with 22 other universities and colleges across Canada, says Kathryn King of retail services. The promotion is being held to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. "On Wednesday," says King, "UW Shop in SCH, Campus TechShop in SLC, and ArtWorx in ECH will be selling 'Waterloo Cares' T-shirts for $10 plus tax with all proceeds going to support breast cancer research and education awareness."

Link of the day

St. Jerome

When and where

Last day to pay tuition fees for fall term, September 30.

‘The 10-80-10 Principle’ Workshop sponsored by Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology, 9:00 to 5:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Permanent residency presentations today: primarily for international students, 9:00 to 12:00; for faculty members, 2:00 to 5:00, Math and Computer room 5158; fully booked.

‘Feng Shui and Obesity’ presentation sponsored by UW Recreation Committee, 12:00, Math and Computer room 5136.

Career workshops today, “Applying to Teacher Education Programs” 12:30, Tatham Centre room 2218; “Basics of Starting a Business” 4:30, Tatham 1208. Details.

Joint Health and Safety Committee 1:00, Commissary room 112D.

Germanic and Slavic ‘undergrad info party’, meet faculty, find out about courses and exchange programs, 4:00 to 5:30, Environment I courtyard.

Elections Canada staff on campus to assist with voter registration, today and tomorrow 1:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre; today 5:00 to 7:30, Ron Eydt Village; Wednesday 6:30 to 8:30, UW Place; Thursday 6:30 to 8:30, Columbia Lake Village.

Live & Learn library lecture: Colin Ellard, Psychology, “Where Am I? Why We Can Find Our Way to the Moon but Get Lost at the Mall.” 7 p.m., Waterloo Public Library main branch.

Employer interviews for winter term co-op jobs begin October 1, continuing through October 24; ranking (main group) opens October 24 at 1 p.m.

Farm market organized by Food Services and volunteers, Wednesday 9:00 to 1:00, Student Life Centre lower level.

Career workshops Wednesday, “Career Interest Assessment” 10:30, Tatham Centre room 1112; “Interview Skills: Preparing for Questions” 2:30, Tatham 1208; “Basics of Starting a Business” 4:30, Accelerator Centre, 295 Hagey Boulevard. Details.

Heritage Resources Centre lunch-and-learn: Robert Shipley, director of HRC, “Heritage Planning Research” Wednesday 12:00, ENV I room 221.

Applying to universities: Brown-bag session sponsored by Marketing and Undergraduate Recruitment Office for staff and faculty who know students considering applying to university, Wednesday 12:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Conversation on Canadian Video to accompany “Analogue” exhibition at Render (UW art gallery): Peggy Gale, Deirdre Logue and Gordon Hatt, Wednesday 12:00, East Campus Hall room 1219.

Biomedical Discussion Group Wednesday 3:00, CEIT room 3142. Speakers: Mungo Marsden (biology), Brian Ingalls (applied mathematics). Details.

Operation Wallacea information session about biodiversity research, opportunities for students and faculty, Wednesday 3:00, Needles Hall room 1116.

‘Bill C-61 and Copyright Law in Canada,’ Russell McOrmond, free software advocate, sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Wednesday 5:30, CEIT room 1015.

Engineers Without Borders Annual Gala, Wednesday 6:30 p.m., Accelerator Centre, tickets $25. Details.

Warrior baseball at Laurier, Wednesday 7:00 p.m.

Perimeter Institute presents Roger Penrose, Oxford University, “Before the Big Bang: Is There Evidence for Something and If So, What?” Wednesday 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information 519-883-4480.

Candidates’ meeting: Kitchener-Waterloo candidates in the October 14 federal election answer questions Thursday 12:00, Student Life Centre.

ACM-style programming contest Saturday 1:00 to 4:00, Math and Computer room 2037. Details.

Keystone Run/Walk for Excellence, one lap around the ring road starting from Davis Centre, Wednesday, October 8, 12:00 noon. Details.

Bruce Uttley, information systems and technology, retirement party rescheduled to Thursday, October 9, 3:30 to 5:30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall.

Yesterday's Daily Bulletin