Tabaret Hall’s construction was completed to reveal a new student lounge on Jan 20. Separated into three rooms on the first floor, the space seats close to 150 students and comes equipped with fireplaces, microwaves, sofas, chairs, and counters with plugs for laptops.
“We had a demand for student spaces and we’re always looking for ways to provide in order to improve the student experience,” University of Ottawa president Allan Rock said during the lounge’s opening.
Located in an area formerly occupied by offices, the lounge offers students a new place to study or hang out and is said to address the shortage of student space on campus.
Chris Hynes, vp university affairs for the student Federation of the University of Ottawa, said the issue of lacking student space is discussed often between the university administration and student federation.
“For older buildings, and Tabaret specifically, there isn’t a lot of options: students need plugs, and students need chairs,” he said. “It’s not enough to have a fancy bench — you need somewhere you can actually get work done.”
He said the new student lounge is an indication of the administration taking those things into account when updating older buildings.
Patrick Charette, director of corporate communications at the university, described Tabaret Hall as “an iconic part of the university” and said he would always see students gathering around looking for somewhere to sit in the building.
“It’s part of improving the student experience, giving them a place to study and meet,” Charette said.
Rock’s Vision 2020 hopes to increase the quality of the student experience, an initiative that the new lounge is a part of. He said the lack of student space on campus is a real concern for the university.
Plans to expand the student lounge in Tabaret have already begun, along with a new learning centre between Lamoureux Hall and King Edward Avenue.