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CAT Microwaves a work in progress

NAIT CAT building

It’s time once again for one of everyone’s favourite topics: Microwaves. Specifically, microwaves in the new CAT Building, which is now almost bursting at the seams with students. These students all need lunch, which many need to heat up during their short breaks.

The NAIT Students’ Association has the job of providing cleaning, maintaining and dealing with student complaints about them.

For some students in CAT, it may seem like there are almost no microwaves at all, but, in fact, there are eight student-accessible microwaves distributed in pairs throughout the building: On the first floor, behind the elevators, on the second and third floors by the main set of washrooms and on the fourth floor, behind the elevators.

Eight microwaves to serve the estimated 5,000 students in the CAT building every day certainly isn’t a lot. With NAITSA in charge of distributing microwaves around campus, the question becomes – why haven’t they installed more microwaves?

“NAITSA continues to advocate to NAIT for microwaves in CAT. However, we can only put microwaves where NAIT agrees to let us,” explained Tamara Russell, VP Student Services at NAITSA, “NAIT has repeatedly been made aware of our dissatisfaction with the number of microwaves in CAT and we will continue to voice our concern until more are added.”

So, if NAITSA is pushing for more microwaves in CAT, where’s the snag? It’s not really a snag, actually.

“As part of the CAT construction, we installed a number of microwaves in the facility. Those microwave locations are part of an agreement with NAITSA that is still under development that defines microwave locations not only in CAT but throughout campus,” said John Engleder, associate vice president of Facilities Management and Development for NAIT.

Why not just put microwaves where there is space? Well, that’s not really feasible. The fire code says that you can’t put them in hallways and most of the other places require electrical work to put in the commercial strength microwaves that are used.

“As far as CAT is concerned, we installed those microwaves as part of the initial build and, after one year’s experience with the building and the microwaves specifically, we’ll have discussions with NAITSA regarding the locations and the number of microwaves and determine whether we have to make any changes,” Engleder explained.

A review of the microwaves in the CAT building is slated for the winter term in early 2017. Demand for microwaves and potential new locations will be identified with more microwaves potentially being installed in summer 2017 for the next academic year. This review will be part of the on-going process both NAITSA and NAIT use to identify changing student needs.

“We’ve also changed some of the microwave locations in the rest of the campus, such as adding microwaves in the Common Market due to NAITSA concerns. Those are ongoing discussions with NAITSA to ensure we’re meeting the students’ needs,” said Engleder.

Until more microwaves are installed in CAT, walk a bit farther from your classroom – head into the HP Centre or over to the North Lobby. Both locations have microwaves and seating areas and you’ll be able to explore a bit more of campus than you would normally see.

– Michael MacComb, with files from Nicolas Brown

Image by NAIT

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