Enhanced Space for Student Services

by Vicki Squires

One of the three priority areas identified in the university’s Second Integrated Plan was improving the undergraduate and graduate student experience.  As part of a larger strategy to accomplish that, Student and Enrolment Services (SESD) identified “enhancing space for support services” as one of the key initiatives in its Second Integrated Plan. SESD partnered with the USSU in the Place Riel expansion, resulting in new space for Student Health, Student Counseling, and the International Students and Study Abroad Centre. After two years of construction at a cost of $28.5 million, the renovated and expanded space includes Lower Place Riel, a four-storey addition, and a renovated main level that includes a USSU office and the USSU Roy Romanow Board Room. The renovation was officially opened on Aug 18, 2011.

The International Students and Study Abroad Centre (ISSAC), located in Lower Place Riel, includes the Global Commons lounge, an open space that welcomes international students and provides a place to meet. There are also support services for students including international advising, workshops, student activities and a space to study. Additionally, students wanting to investigate studying abroad and those who are on exchange can access information and support at the Centre. Part of the space includes a large training room. “This is just a wonderful space that provides students with a welcoming environment in which to find supports, network with other students, and just socialize,” says David Hannah, associate vice-president of student affairs.

The Apotex Centre, located on the third and fourth floors of the addition, includes the Student Health Centre on the fourth floor and the Student Counseling Centre on the third floor. These facilities are a vast improvement from what had previously existed for these facilities, when Student Health and Student Counseling were housed in converted residence rooms in Saskatchewan Hall and the Qu’appelle Hall addition. “The difference is night and day,” says Hannah. “From what was surely one of the worst student health facilities in the country to an absolutely state-of-the-art facility, the difference is astounding. Not only did the quality of the facility improve tremendously, but the location of the centres was also improved, resulting in increased student traffic flow in both.”

Although more work remains to improve spaces for other student services such as Disability Services for Students, the addition of these spaces has been a major step forward in enhancing the spaces for support services and achieving one of SESD’s goals in its Second Integrated Plan.