If you walk along de Maisonneuve Blvd. W. near Concordia’s downtown campus, you will notice a cube-like building with a large inconspicuous LS plastered at the front entrance.
At door number 1535, Concordia’s first pop-up building opened its doors to students on Jan. 6.
The Learning Square is a temporary, two-storey, modular building that has eight classrooms that can accommodate about 80 students per class. The cost of building the structure was estimated at $6.5 million, and Concordia expects to use the building for five years.
The inside of the building is elegant; it is a reflection of what the Webster library looks like, post recent construction. Colourful walls adorn the interior, turquoise, yellow and lime green, juxtaposed against the white.
The temporary structure was built to make up for the loss of classroom space due to renovations in the Hall building. According to Concordia spokesperson Vannina Maestracci, with this new building, the university will be able to complete the renovations faster and on a larger scale, with fewer disruptions to students and faculty.
“Space wise, in the classroom, it’s big, and the teachers are able to actually get their messages across, sound wise,” said sociology student Erin Bleau.
Maestracci said the expected gain of time for the renovations of the Hall building is about 18 months.
“I think that it’s really great that they’ve given us this space, because from what I understand, what’s going on in the Hall building involves even things like asbestos, and so on, so I’d much rather be over here,” said Professor Maggie McDonnell, lecturer and program coordinator of composition and professional writing.
According to Maestracci, Concordia looked at different options for creating more space for classrooms, but found that modular units are more beneficial and cost less than renting space. The building could also be moved and reused in another location.
“Given that it’s temporary, it’s actually pretty good,” said McDonnell. “You don’t feel like you’re in a trailer.”
The Learning Square is the first Concordia building to have only gender neutral washrooms. The stalls also offer more privacy, as the doors start from the floor and reach up to the ceiling.
“It kind of adds an aspect of (privacy),” said communications student Steph Medalsy. “It could make a person who is maybe not okay with the idea a bit more comfortable, and maybe it will change some people’s opinions that it doesn’t really make a difference who’s using the washroom, considering the stalls are so secluded.”
Photos by Britanny Clarke