UPEI hoping to break ground on new 260-bed residence soon
'We really need to get going on this project right away'
The University of Prince Edward Island is hoping to start construction on a new 260-bed residence soon.
Jackie Podger, vice president administration and finance at the University of Prince Edward Island said, she'd like to break ground in the near future because "timing is tight."
Podger said the project needs to be complete by the fall of 2022 because the residence will be a temporary home to athletes competing in the 2023 Canada Winter Games.
"This is a very large building, so we need to get in the ground as soon as possible," she said.
"We really need to get going on this project right away."
The City of Charlottetown held a virtual public meeting on Tuesday night to give residents a chance to make their comments on the nine-storey project.
Architect Derek Brennan said the building will be a mix of brick, metal and glazing, and will include 80 parking spots.
Extra fire protection measures will be put in place, including a smoke exhaust system, sprinklers, fire alarm system and a voice communication system which can be accessed by firefighters at the main entrance, he said.
The $60-million structure will be around 185,000 sq. ft. It will feature a classrooms and a theatre that will double as a lecture hall and conference space, in addition to the residence rooms.
The province is contributing $20 million toward the housing project, with UPEI funding the remaining $40 million.
Podger said the university is also looking to keep the rate for students at a comparable cost to the three other residences at UPEI.
"It depends whether or not you have a meal plan or you don't have a meal plan," she said.
"In this particular residence you are not required to have a meal plan, so that lessens the cost."
Podger said she's heard positive things from those wanting the university to move ahead with the residence.
"I just think that it's going to be a monumental space," she said.
"I think the folks on P.E.I., once it's built, will really find that it's a great addition to the university."
Restriction on building permits
The public has until Thursday at noon to submit feedback to the city's planning department, who will then present a recommendation to council the following week.
Coun. Greg Rivard, who chairs the city's planning committee, said if the city supports the project, it will need approval from the province.
"Then of course, there are the restrictions on issuing permits," he said.
"We can't issue a permit until the province gives the go ahead."
No building permits have been issued since March 27, as part of a strategy to promote physical distancing to reduce the spread of COVID-19.