New and better NAITrium

by | Oct 14, 2017 | News, Uncategorized

The NAITrium has been a space for students to comfortably study, hold club meetings, socialize, enjoy a meal and relax between classes since its opening in May 1985. However, it had seen very few
upgrades, modernizations or improvements since then. In an effort to ameliorate students’ experience at NAIT, almost $250,000 was spent on renovations to the NAITrium during the summer break. New and returning students were greeted to the 2017 scholar year with a bright, modern and spacious NAITrium to savour.

Leeanne Mills, NAITSA administration director, played a role in the restoration and emphasizes some of the major goals that were met with the renovations.

“One of the goals in doing the renovation on the NAITRIUM was to increase the amount of fresh air that came into that room … that was way at the top of our list,” Mills said.

The southern wall of the large space between the J and H wings is primarily glass and although it allowed students to feel less enclosed while using the space, it also manifested heat inside the NAITrium. The renovations have included improved ductwork to increase airflow, a fresh coat
of paint, increased lighting, new flooring, improving the layout of the space and brand new, colourful furniture.

In February 2016, a student referendum was passed for a $5 million donation over five years from NAITSA to NAIT with the funds to be directed towards improving student facilities on campus. The first $2 million was allocated to the Centre for Applied Technology before its opening and that money was matched by the Government of Alberta.

An additional $600 000 was donated to various spaces throughout NAIT that were identified as needing improvements, one of which was creating the Learning and Teaching Commons. The renovations were completed on that space under budget and the remainder of their funds was redirected to restore the NAITrium.

“[Alison Lewis] came to us and said, we have this money remaining [from the student enhancement fund], it must be directed to the students because that was the intent of the money, to enhance their quality of living … on campus, and so the executive council at the time decided they would like to see the money directed to the NAITrium,” said Mills.

The senior project co-ordinator for the rejuvenation was Lana Ngu along with Nicole Kemp as the space planner, although Mills confirms that the interior design students of NAIT also played a role.

“The designers here at NAIT, the interior designers, were the ones that did the initial proposal for us and they came up with some great ideas,” Mills said.

On Wednesday Sept. 27, the grand opening of the NAITrium was held. Doris Car, NAITSA’s current president, began the ceremony with an opening speech, welcoming all of the students and staff that filled the new space.

Walter Bonaise, NAIT’s elder from the Encana Aboriginal Centre, blessed the NAITrium with a prayer, followed by a traditional cake cutting. The event also featured items from the Nest’s updated menu to promote the campus restaurant. Wraps, fresh dips, and hot appetizers were served for faculty and students.

The new NAITrium boasts its loft style, colourful furniture, large trees, arcade games and lounge chairs, providing students with a comfortable and enjoyable space to de-stress. The space is open seven days a week for students’ use.

– Shawna Bannerman, Assistant Editor
– Photo by Alana Smears

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