The sound of construction is now a common background noise to anyone on the Nanaimo campus of Vancouver Island University. With the new Health and Science building a construction staple on the Nanaimo campus, the automotive building’s new facelift, and the construction on the Fisheries and Aquaculture Building (380), work is happening all over. And for a week in March, the Malaspina Theatre (bldg. 310) also had some work done.

The wood awning structure that covered the main entrance and west window to the lobby was removed as classes went on. Students and staff were still free to access the building through the main entrance, while work focused on removing the structure on the west side that covered the main lobby windows.

There are various wood structures around the campus like the one that was removed from bldg. 310. The main cafeteria still boasts one, and wood walkways can also be found throughout campus. Is the university looking into the removal of these as well?

“They essentially really need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as to what function they serve and what value they add,” says Drew Taylor, with Facilities Services and Campus Development, and the campus representative who oversaw the theatre project.

“For example, the overhead walkway structure on the west side of the Library is an access pathway for persons with disabilities,” he said. “This structure is obviously essential to VIU. For other similar structures on campus, we are continuously working to improve and enhance campus buildings and grounds, and we evaluate and address each situation before work is undertaken.”

So far, the change to the theatre building has been well-received by staff and students who use it.

“The response has been really positive.  The removal brightens up the lobby and cleans up the front of the building, making it look a bit more modern,” says Leon Potter, Theatre Program Chair.

A part of the wood structure still stands at the main entrance, covered to provide shelter from the elements. A metal frame version shelters the west entrance.