Algonquin College releases designs for $52 million student commons project

Algonquin College and the Algonquin Students’ Association (SA) have unveiled the winning proposal and design for a new $52 million, 110,000 square foot, Student Commons, awarding the design-build project to the PCL Constructors and IBI Group Architects / Teeple Architects.

“We are excited about this iconic design and look forward to giving the college community a glimpse of what student life will look like by the start of the 2012 academic year,” explains Jacob Sancartier, president of the Algonquin Students’ Association. “This design will make the Student Commons a natural gathering place for our students and will serve as the heart of the Woodroffe Campus.”

Anchored by a 700-seat auditorium for lectures and performances, the Student Commons will create a sense of place between the classroom and home, and will provide a grand atrium lounge area for students to relax in comfortable furniture and enjoy a coffee with friends. The facility will provide a variety of choices for students to access student support services, attend lectures and performances in the 700-seat auditorium, use club and activity space, study quietly or in groups, or take advantage of a variety of purposeful green spaces nearby.

“The building design provides our students with a one-stop service centre for many of their needs ranging from counselling and employment services, to study spaces, to food outlets and entertainment,” explains Deborah Rowan-Legg, Vice President, Student Services, Algonquin College. “We are energized by this design as a place for students to gather, to connect with each other, and to access the services available to help them be successful in their studies.”

The design-build team followed a number of guiding principles set out by the College and SA to direct the development of this leading-edge facility that will create a true sense of place never before seen on campus.

“This very functional building was designed to complement the existing features on campus, while also delivering upon the College’s commitment to sustainability,” says Dave Rossetti, Business Development Manager, PCL Constructors. “The uniquely ‘green’ facility will use high performance building materials and practices to achieve one of the highest levels of sustainability certification in Canada.”

The Student Commons will be built to the standards of the Canada Green Building Council’s LEED-Gold certification. The multi-storey design of this new facility will capitalize on natural lighting and ‘greening’ of the adjacent landscape to “bring the outdoors in.”

The building will be built adjacent to the existing home of the College’s Hospitality and Tourism programs, and serve as a gateway for visitors arriving via the eastern approach to the campus, including the College’s principal parking areas. An official ground-breaking ceremony is set for April 2011 and construction will begin soon after. The building will open in September 2012.



  • 700-seat auditorium, for concerts, theatrical productions, and lectures
  • Student commons spaces, complete with private study areas
  • Centralized student support services
  • Expanded Mamidosewin Aboriginal Student Centre
  • SA administrative offices
  • Student meeting rooms and club spaces
  • Counselling Services
  • Centre for Students with Disabilities
  • Student Employment Services
  • Student Success Centre
  • International food outlet
  • Expanded New Technology Store
  • Travel and Tourism Lab
  • Outdoor green spaces, including a ceremonial grove connected to the Mamidosewin Centre and a large urban park fronting the main entrance.
  • Wired to support the “learning anywhere” initiative which envisages that Algonquin will be a fully mobile college by 2013
  • A new home for the Ombudsperson


  • IDP Handover Session, Design Charrettes and Workshops Mar – Apr 2011
  • Construction starts (Excavation) May 2011
  • Renovation of D (Bookstore) and H (at link) Buildings May – July 2012
  • Furniture Move/Installation July 2012
  • Occupancy Aug 2012
  • Building Opens Sep 2012


Design-Build Team:

Prime Contractor: PCL Constructors

Prime Consultants/Architects: IBI Group Architects / Teeple Architects

Structural Engineering Consultants: Adjeleian Allen Rubeli

Mechanical / Electrical Engineering Consultants: Crossey Engineering

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