From the outside, it may look like the same old brown brick building from the 70s. But inside, the College West residence at the University of Regina has been completely transformed.
With a shared kitchen, smudge room, video game lounge and 25-seat movie theatre, the residence is a far-cry from the simple expectations some have for campus life.
Fourth-year business student James Hsieh was among the first to move back into the apartment-style suites.The residence will accommodate up to 274 students out of a total of 1,611 campus housing spaces.
“Just wowed — everybody seeing College West is just ‘wow’,” he said.
Hsieh was also one of the students who offered input into the redesign of the residence, which he now describes as modern and “very 2018″ … or even ” a little bit of New York in Regina.”
With all the new amenities and shared space, Hsieh said he was most excited about the bigger, brighter cooking space in his apartment.
“I love my kitchen,” he said. “I don’t have to worry about fighting (over) the kitchen cabinets with my roommate because we just have too (much) space.”
Bettina Welsh, director of student affairs operations, said there was a lot of student input into the redesign process.
“The designers listened to them very well and designed the space with them in mind,” Welsh said.
“Everything from extra insulation in between the bedroom walls so that they had some privacy but also so that they are able to come together and study still in those communal spaces. That they enjoyed the community kitchen and they enjoy gaming together and they just enjoy being together.”
The original student housing space on the U of R campus was built in 1972, closing in 2016 for the renovations.
The upgrades also brought College West up to modern building codes and standards, added air units to increase ventilation and air quality, replaced the roof and all of the windows and added new heating and cooling pumps to improve efficiency.
The project cost $38.3 million, with the provincial government providing $1.5 million and the remainder being financed long-term.
The average rent for students is approximately $870 per month, or $3,482 per semester, for a room in a four-bedroom apartment with all utilities and services included. The price increases for two bedroom apartments and private studios.
Language Institute residence hit by minor flood
A sprinkler break on the sixth floor of the Language Institute across campus caused a flood damaging six student rooms and forcing 25 to move out for now.
“Thankfully, we did not have many students in that building because most of them arrive next week, so we have six students that experienced most of the damage – they’ve all been relocated,” Welsh said.
The floor was under construction at the time. The university is still waiting to hear about the extent of the damage and the time it could take to make repairs or clean it up.
While the seventh and eighth floors were not affected, students had to move out anyway because the elevators were out of service.
“As for the other students – there were 25 in total – many were moving off campus this week or next week or we’ve been able to room-change them temporarily until we are given the go-ahead to let them move back into their rooms,” Welsh said, adding it’s now a waiting game for what happens next.