A housewarming party was held on Tuesday, Oct. 28, to mark the reopening of Barnes House on Memorial's St. John's campus.
The university and the provincial government held the reception.
Government has invested $3.6 million for the refurbishment of Barnes House, the first residence to be completed in a major series of renovations being done to student residences and campus buildings at the university.
Education Minister Joan Burke, together with Dr. Eddy Campbell, Memorial's acting president, and Dr. Lilly Walker, dean of Student Affairs and Services participated in the reopening ceremony which was also billed as a small housewarming party for the students and a celebration of the refurbishment of their campus home.
“Today’s event marks a milestone for Paton College,” said Minister Burke. “The improvements to Barnes House are extensive and indicative of the investments being made by government to bring these buildings into the 21st century. Improving the residents at Memorial is part of our government’s overall provincial infrastructure strategy. It is also one of many investments we are making to ensure the students of Newfoundland and Labrador have access to affordable, quality programming and facilities to support their post-secondary education. Memorial University is a world-class facility and we remain steadfast in our commitment to helping it prosper and grow.”
The university began the extensive renovations and upgrades with funding of $70.8 million provided by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. The renovations are part of a five-year project aimed at upgrading all existing residential buildings. In May 2009, the university will begin similar work on Blackall and Doyle Houses and Baltimore Court.
“We are very pleased and thankful that the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has provided funding to help us undertake these important renovations,” Dr. Campbell said.
“We know that our student residences need to improve if we are to remain competitive in the Canadian and international post-secondary markets and if we are to look after our students from rural Newfoundland and Labrador. This series of refurbishments – of which Barnes is the first – will help us accomplish that goal. I am pleased that the students of Barnes House will now have a first-rate facility in which to live as they pursue their degrees.”
Barnes House residence opened in 1961 as part of the Paton College student residence complex. As part of this recent refurbishment, Barnes House received a new roof, new plumbing, new wiring, including upgrades for high speed Internet. In addition, residents will now be walking on new flooring, will be storing their things in new cabinets and will be using newly fitted washrooms and studying at new build-in desks. The entire facility has also been repainted.
“I would also like to thank the students for their patience and forbearance while these upgrades and renovations were being done,” said Dr. Walker. “Now that we have completed the first residence, we have a better understanding of what will be involved as we move to upgrade the remaining houses. Residence buildings are in a very real sense, the homes of the students who live on the campus full time, and we are sensitive to this fact. We have tried to create an environment that is comfortable and conducive to studying and socializing. We think that the improvements to these facilities make the residence option even more appealing.”