New residence towers open on campus

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New accommodations offering more to U of R residents than ever before

After two long years, the new residence towers are finally complete, and open for students to inhabit them. The new towers, which are formally named the Kisik towers, cost a total of $83.3 million to complete, and added 606 on-campus beds, 150 extra underground parking spots and 90 new daycare spaces.

The Carillon was able to talk to Bettina Welsh, the University of Regina’s Director of Student Affairs Operations, about the building of the new residences, and some of the specifics that accompanied them, beginning with the naming of the new towers, and the significance behind the names.

“A contest was held to select the new names of the North Residence, South Residence and Hall A. A committee comprised of on- and off-campus community members selected the winning names. Kisik Towers are the tallest buildings on campus and, fittingly, kisik (pronounced KEE-zhick) means “sky” in the Saulteaux language, reflecting our commitment to indigenization and our University’s location on historic Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 lands. The name is complemented by the new names of the North and South residences that were revealed in July. The North Residence building is now called Paskwaw Tower (pronounced pus-KWOW), the Cree word for “prairie.” The South Residence is now known as Wakpa Tower (pronounced wak-pa), coming from the Dakota word for “river.” All three symbols, sky, prairie and river, are represented on the Treaty 4 flag,” Welsh explains.

As for the number of students, Welsh gave the Carillon an estimation of how many people would be living in the new residence buildings, compared to how many there were last year.

“University of Regina and Luther Residences had approximately 1180 students living in Residence in September 2014. This September, we expect approximately 1550 residents to be living on campus.”

Thanks to the extra room in the new residence buildings, the University of Regina currently has no waiting list for rooms. Welsh says that residence rooms are still being offered to students who apply.

Regarding the accommodations that residents will have in their new living space, Welsh detailed some of the specifics of the rooms, as well as some of the changes from the older residences.

“The new two-bedroom apartments all have 48″ beds and the dorms have private washrooms,” Welsh stated. “The towers are connected with five floors. There are additional options for accessible rooms, roll in showers, etc.”

While the exact number is unknown right now, Welsh noted that about 38 per cent of students in residence are international students. This brings up the question of how on-campus international residents deal with the language barrier. Welsh responded with a number of different options around the university that would help students with ESL (English as a second language) needs.

“Supports are in place in Residence and through the UR International, ESL, and La Cite offices to assist students for whom English is not a first-language to adjust to campus life. For many Resident Assistants and some office staff, English is not their first language.”

Finally, the Carillon asked Welsh if there were any plans to phase out, or even replace older residence building in the university, with the new towers offering better living experiences to students. Welsh did not have any specifics, but did note that there are currently plans to upgrade the College West rooms in the near future.

While the new towers are officially open for residents, much of the area is still under construction. Photo: Brett Nielsen

While the new towers are officially open for residents, much of the area is still under construction. Photo: Brett Nielsen

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