UW turns sod for new residence Mackenzie King Village

WATERLOO, Ont. -- The University of Waterloo held a sod-turning ceremony today for a new residence -- part of a $25-million project to expand and renew campus accommodation for students.

The event was held this afternoon for the $15.6-million residence to be called the William Lyon Mackenzie King Village. It will house about 320 first-year students and be located between the existing Village I and Ron Eydt Village.

Scheduled to be ready by September 2001, the air-conditioned residence was named after Canada's longest serving Prime Minister and Kitchener-Waterloo's most famous resident. (Mackenzie King served three terms: 1921-26, 1926-30, 1935-48.)

"This new residence will help the university address the demand for on-campus accommodation and is part of a major expansion of our student residences," said Gail Clarke, director of UW's housing and residence administration.

Among those attending this afternoon's sod-turning event at the construction site, a parking lot between Village 1 and Ron Eydt Village, were UW president David Johnston, student representatives from the two student residence councils and the project's architects, The Walter Fedy Partnership.

Last year, the UW board of governors approved a $25-million project to renew residence facilities and convert more than half of the existing UW Place apartment complex to single rooms for upper-year students, as well as to build the new residence for first-year students.

The plan will meet the wish of 80 per cent of first-year students who have said they would prefer to live on campus. To meet that demand, UW needs 3,350 beds for an expected "frosh" class of about 4,200 students. At present, 2,550 first-year spots are available on campus.

To free up space for the first-year students, upper-year students will be accommodated in the revamped UW Place, as well as other existing student residences.

Work has already started at the UW Place, with the first new rooms set to be ready by next September. About 240 rooms will replace 120 one-bedroom apartments in the complex's Beck Hall. (The hall is named after both Jacob Beck, the founding father of nearby Baden, and his son, Sir Adam Beck, a prominent industrialist who founded Ontario Hydro.)

Both the new residence and the renovated apartment complex are expected to meet student demand for accommodation in suites, with two to four bedrooms sharing kitchen and bathroom space.

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Contact:

Gail Clarke, (519) 888-4567, ext. 5634, giclarke@uwaterloo.ca

From John Morris, UW News Bureau, 888-4435; jmorris@uwaterloo.ca

Release no. 48 -- April 10, 2000