PEI

UPEI's historic Dalton Hall converted to dedicated space for students

After a year and a half, renovations are complete on one of UPEI's oldest buildings. Dalton Hall was constructed in 1917 and served as a men's residence. Now, it functions as a centre devoted to students.

'I find that a lot of us are coming in more often than we used to'

'It’s an area that really focuses on trying to give students opportunities to be exposed to the world of work,' says associate vice-president of students and registrar Donna Sutton. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

After a year and a half, renovations are complete on one of UPEI's oldest buildings. Dalton Hall was constructed in 1917 and served as a men's residence. Now, it functions as a centre devoted to students.

Donna Sutton, the associate vice-president of students and registrar at UPEI, said one of the goals in the planning process was to ensure there would be open, communal spaces for students. 

"This is a culmination of a number of years of effort to try and ensure that the services that students need to be successful in the classroom, outside the classroom, on campus, are consolidated in one place," she said.

Most of the resources students need are now housed in Dalton Hall. These include the admissions office, the international students centre, accessibility services and an experiential education hub. 

Adaptable, flexible, resilient

Sutton said the purpose of the hub is to provide work opportunities for students.

"One of the best examples of that, is our faculty of sustainable design engineering where the bulk of that facility is a hands-on lab, where students are learning and creating all at the same time," she said.

'One of the primary goals of the architectural team when renovating this building was to ensure that there would be open space, communal spaces for students to gather,' says Sutton. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Sensory-friendly study and testing areas are also available in the building for those needing a more quiet area to concentrate. 

"I think what this building provides for students are the services they need to be adaptable, to be flexible and to be resilient," said Sutton. 

While the building features a more streamlined design, Sutton said architects were able to maintain the red brick of the original structure throughout.

Second-year environmental studies student Sonia Timbre says the new location of the Mawi'omi Centre encourages greater student interaction. 'I find that a lot of us are coming in more often than we used to,' she says. (Isabella Zavarise/CBC)

Dalton Hall is also home to the Mawi'omi Centre that overlooks the campus from the top floor. Sutton said the centre is properly ventilated so students can perform smudging ceremonies. 

Second-year environmental studies student Sonia Timbre said the space allows for more student interaction and camaraderie. 

"It's very inviting, beautiful. I like the fact that there's a separate area for seating and to socialize, and the back room is to focus on our work and bounce off ideas," she said. 

"I find that a lot of us are coming in more often than we used to."

In 2016, the federal and provincial government's provided $2.875 million for the project, while the university contributed an additional $409,900. 

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About the Author

Isabella Zavarise is a reporter with CBC in P.E.I. You can contact her at isabella.zavarise@cbc.ca