The Students' Union Building 1967 - 2017
The Students' Union Building originally opened at the start of the school year in 1967, and the Students' Union celebrated the building's 50th "birthday" on September 8, 2017.
From the beginning the building was designed around some core principles, which are well summed up by the requirement that most importantly "this whole building must both serve as a social centre for the whole university and as a constant symbol of the value of free, autonomous student government.”
- Opened in 1967, the building was featured in Time Magazine as the largest and most complete student space in Canada.
- The design, construction and financing of SUB were arranged entirely by the students' own enterprise.
- The cast-iron mural on the south side of the building was created by the late Jordi Bonet, an award-winning Montreal artist.
- The large fire pit, created by Jonathan Wood, inspired the design of the SU's unique flame logo.
- The Lower Level was once home to eight bowling lanes and six sheets of curling ice.
In 2011, the building was certified by the Building Owners and Managers Association of Canada, and awarded a BOMA BESt Level 2 Certification. BOMA BESt is the Canadian industry standard for commercial building sustainability: the award is a remarkable achievement for an older building like SUB.
Over its 50 year history, SUB has continually evolved to meet student needs, with expansions, renovations and ongoing upgrades.
In 1993, existing student relaxation and study space was renovated and expanded, and a new food court was created to meet the need for a greater variety of food options. Because of the new commercial spaces created by the renovation, the construction was self-funded, and the construction costs were recouped in less than 10 years.
in 1996, increasing demands on student services such as the health centre, career services, and student aid, coupled with a desire to create one-stop access to those services, led the University and the Students’ Union to work together to bring all Dean of Students and Students’ Union services under one roof. The renovation succeeded in enhancing access for students and improving the ability of those services to work together to provide an integrated approach to meeting student needs.
As SUB’s popularity grew along with the University’s enrolment, the need for more social, study, and service space became acute. To address these needs, in 2003 the Students’ Union and the University co-funded a major expansion to SUB, enclosing the building’s courtyard. This created new service space on the second floor, and the now-iconic SUBstage area on the main floor. SUB truly became the ‘living room’ of campus, the place where people came together to meet, work, and play.
2015 Atrium and Patio
The most recent - and arguably the most remarkable - renovation to SUB was completed in 2015. It added the spectacular two-storey glass Atrium, opened up the Lower Level, and created the outdoor patio. The Atrium is now one of campus’s signature student spaces, an oasis of light and warmth even on the coldest winter days.
The project is designed to achieve two important long-term goals: ensuring that the building continues to be kept up-to-date and well-maintained, and encouraging student involvement in campus groups, events, and volunteer opportunities. Key elements of the renovation include:
- Significantly expanded social and study space;
- Improved facilities to support our more than 400 student groups, including additional bookable spaces;
- Created Student Life Central, an involvement centre that connects students with volunteer and student group opportunities, and works with the University to promote the many academically-oriented involvement options available to students;
- Rearranged SU-operated student services to enhance accessibility; and
- Developed a student governance centre, incorporating student elections, student legislative offices, and Discover Governance, a student-directed governance advisory service.