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Flood repairs bring Alex Hall into the 21st century

Nearly all of Alex Hall’s west wing is currently being rebuilt. With entirely new ceilings and walls, along with better insulation, and electrical and heating systems, students should expect to see a “brand new building” when they return.

Alex Hall under construction in March (Photo: Evan McIntyre)

January’s floods mean Alex Hall is getting a facelift.
Nearly all of Alex Hall’s west wing is currently being rebuilt. With entirely new ceilings and walls, along with better insulation, and electrical and heating systems, students should expect to see a “brand new building” when they return. Many students have been displaced to the Lord Nelson since the beginning of the semester.
“It’s been a very extensive renovation,” said King’s facilities director Alex Doyle. “This is the first chance that not only the King’s community but students and everybody can see what it means to make a change in these rooms. I think the students will be very pleased with the result of their rooms. It looks like a brand new building.”
With a total retrofit of Alex Hall, King’s could expect to save 50 per cent in electrical costs. However it’s uncertain when and if renovations to the bay residences will take place.
“Hopefully we can find the monies to do (the east wing of Alex Hall),” Doyle said. “Then we would do the Bays. (Radical Bay) is the oldest. It was built in 1929, and there have been no major improvements since so it’s in desperate need of a facelift.”
Doyle mentioned in a Feb. 23 KSU council meeting that “if (King’s) were to try to improve energy efficiency in the bays we would need a total retrofit.”
Bursar Jim Fitzpatrick said in a meeting with KSU council today that the school has already applied to the province for funding for this retrofit.
“Everything that’s going back in (Alex Hall) is energy efficient,” said Doyle. “All the lighting is LED and it’s 85 per cent more efficient than what was in there before. It’s going to make a major difference.”
Doyle stated on Feb. 23 that King’s was able to “get well over $1 million of work done for just $10,000,” as most of the costs were covered by insurance.
Repairs to the fourth floor were mostly cosmetic with the exception of the room where the original leak was discovered, which has since been completely rebuilt. On the third floor, at least 60 to 70 per cent of the floor was removed. The second and first floors are currently under construction.
Thermostats will also be “streamlined so that there will be one to control each room in the room it controls,” Doyle is quoted saying Feb. 23.
Marina Duggan, a second-year student currently living at the Lord Nelson, is hopeful that the changes made to Alex Hall will make for a more comfortable living experience.
“Last year was really annoying because it might be too cold or too hot in one room and it made everyone uncomfortable,” said Duggan, “I like the idea of everyone having their own temperatures because not everyone is used to the same heat. I hate the cold, but the person in the room next to me might like it.”
In the February council meeting, Doyle explained that the renovations have taken much longer than expected because “the damage has been more extensive than could have been anticipated.”
“Until the work is done and the bills submitted we won’t know the cost of the work at Alex Hall,” said Fitzpatrick. “By May the final accounting should be done.”
All students are expected to be moved back into Alex Hall by Mar. 31.
“Moving down to the Lord Nelson was pretty stressful, as a lot of us got in the night before classes started,” said Duggan. “However the walking has been good exercise and I think everyone had gotten a chance to be a part of the city as a whole more. Not just a member of the campus life.”
“From the sounds of things they really couldn’t have guessed that this would happen. Most say it was because of the snaps of cold and warmth we got over the winter break,” said Duggan. “Probably the only way something like this could be avoided in the future would be to keep the building at a steady temperature at all times and change the piping. With old buildings like on campus it’s pretty likely that the older pieces won’t last.”
Facilities are currently working on a Flickr account displaying the stages of the renovation so that students can keep up to date on the construction progress.

By David J. Shuman

David is a second-year journalism student at King's, is engagement/news editor of The Watch, and a copy editor of The Pigeon. He writes on student politics, campus happenings, and school news. 

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