Campus changes surround Thames Hall reno

Brandon Watson // Special to Western News

The Thames Hall renovations will complete in 2021 and will be home to Kinesiology and Health and Wellness

As the Thames Hall renovation enters its main phase, Facilities Management officials are flagging changes around the landmark building that might impact day-to-day life for the campus community.

With early work completed, including abatement and demolition to parts of the interior, and construction fencing already up around the building’s perimeter, the project is entering a far more visible phase, said Jeff Jones, Facilities Management project manager.

This main construction phase will last an estimated two years, during which the campus community can expect a number of changes to the area, including;

  • Frequent lane and sidewalk restrictions. As trucks with materials and equipment arrive and depart, pedestrian, cyclist and vehicular traffic will face occasional restrictions. Signs and flag persons will be on site to help manage deliveries and guide travellers. Throughout the main construction phase, the bike lane and sidewalk on the west side of the building will remain closed. Cyclists can dismount and join pedestrians on the nearby sidewalk or navigate along Oxford Drive. Facilities Management officials are encouraging commuters to find alternative routes, should the interruption impact travel;
  • Tree, shrub, and bush removal. Some plant removal is necessary to accommodate construction activities, enable necessary grading alterations, and support enhanced pedestrian flow through and around the building. Many of the trees being removed are struggling or in decline, including a larger tree on the east side of the building that has became a hazard due to falling limbs. Tree protection fencing has been erected around the trees being preserved; and
  • Clinic parking. Patient parking for the nearby Fowler Kennedy Sport Medicine Clinic, inside the 3M Centre, will be impacted. This will result in a permanent reconfiguration of the Kent Drive parking lot. To accommodate the displacement of clinic parking, new spaces are being added to the front of the 3M Centre. Select spaces in the Upper Heating Plant lot, across Lambton Drive, are also reassigned to patients.

“There will be service interruptions and adjustments to commuter habits in the surrounding area,” Jones said. “We appreciate the continued patience of our campus community throughout the project.”

The Thames Hall modernization project will create a new home for the Department of Kinesiology, as well as bring Health Services and Psychological Services under one roof to provide student medical care, counselling services and wellness education in a single space.

Upon completion, the $35-million revitalization project will create open, bright collaborative space and enhanced wayfinding through the building, anchored by a new barrier free entrance and sidewalk on the south side facing Lambton Drive, drawing people into the building from Alumni Circle.

The exterior alterations will result in more green space to the east of the building where an existing parking lot will be removed. At the completion of the project in 2021, there will be an opportunity to plant trees there to replenish the campus tree inventory.