New residence nears completion

Residence students will have a new home at the University of Manitoba, as the construction of new Pembina Hall residence, which is slated to replace Tache Hall, is nearing completion.

The residence is being built overtop of where the Pembina Hall building currently stands.

Ken Berman, the project manager for the new residence, said that one of its biggest features is that every room will contain its own complete washroom, including an individual shower.

The building will also offer a lounge on every floor and be serviced by three elevators to ensure accessibility. Berman also said that there will be a direct link to neighbouring student residence Mary Speechly Hall through Pembina Hall and a dining facility for residence students.

According to Berman, the total construction cost of the new residence is in the $37 million range, a figure that did not include the cost of furnishings.

“It’s been completely on schedule since day one, and it will be ready for occupancy in September [2011],” said Berman, when asked if the project had encountered any delays.
Barry Stone, the assistant director of administration and operations for Housing & Student Life, said that Tache Hall currently accommodates 350 students, while the new residence will increase this number to 360.

The new residence will offer wireless Internet service, the cost for which will be included in residence fees and will be accessible in each room, all lounges and throughout the residence.

“There will be wireless throughout the building, which is a first for any residence here that we have in our stock,” said Stone.

Housing & Student Life will relinquish occupancy of Tache Hall around the first week of May.

After it’s closure, Tache Hall will be repurposed as a building for the faculty of music, with renovations beginning immediately after the last students move out.

Housing & Student Life are already accepting applications for the new residence, and accepted students will begin moving in during the September long weekend.

Stone said that Housing & Student Life would takeover the new building around July 24, at which time furniture would arrive and personnel would begin preparing the residence for occupancy.

Robert Loganathan, a University 1 student and current resident of Tache Hall said that he applied to live in the new residence because he will be able to have his own shower and washroom within his room, though he felt Tache Hall was an appropriate building to serve as a residence for students.

Loganathan said he thought even with its age, the Tache Hall building had been maintained well, though “something that could have been improved was the paint of the walls to a brighter more inviting colour, and the Internet connection [ could be ] wireless, and faster.”

According to Stone, the new residence is currently referred to as Pembina Hall Residence, but this could change if the university finds a patron or donor for it.

Stone described the design of the new residence as a departure from traditional dormitories, and said it is more akin to a modern loft. He said that the new residence features exposed steel beams, giving it an industrial look, and that there would be a lot of natural light coming in.

“I think a real selling feature will be just the amount of natural light, and the views on the south-side will be absolutely phenomenal,” said Stone.

“In terms of architecture, it is of course unique in that it’s actually overtop of an existing building. I know it’s garnering a lot of attention on the architectural front because of the structure,” said Stone.

Stone said that there had been some talk of developing more new student residences.

“Obviously Mary Speechly and University College are from the ’60s, and also they can’t go on forever. They need their major upgrades or need to be replaced,” explained Stone, who qualified his statement by saying that there were no plans to upgrade these buildings yet, only discussion.

Stone added that one potential future project is the possible development of a residence on “D” Lot, a parking facility on Freedman Crescent near Physical Plant. Another possibility that is being looked into is the creation of graduate housing, something currently not offered.