Renovations near completion for The Wave

After almost a month's delay, planners are just now putting the finishing touches on the new facility

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

New booth seating at the Wave

Jonas Hebreniuk

The Wave’s tide is coming in soon.

Despite a delayed Aug. 15 deadline, contractors have been working to ensure renovations are complete as early as possible, and while they’ve set no solid date for completion, planners are hoping to have it open to the public next week.

Chief among the reasons for delay was the concrete flooring on which the raised floor, now removed, was previously set.

According to Paul Tomlinson, senior manager University Students’ Council Services, architects did not know what to expect to find beneath the floor before it was removed.

“We could only investigate so far before doing the demolition,” Tomlinson said. “The floor of the previous facility was originally raised 22 inches off a concrete deck. So when [we] finally did …demolition… there were problems with the concrete. So we had to get those resolved before we could lay down the floor to make sure [it] would adhere [properly].”

The concrete surface beneath the raised floor was once the roof of the University Student Centre before renovations in 1991, which created a rough and uneven surface. Adding to this problem, years of spilled pop had corroded the concrete, which required that the surface be treated before the new vinyl flooring could be applied.

Reasons for renovating the facility are numerous, though Tomlinson noted that facilities don’t have too long a shelf life around the Student Centre because of their amount of use. In the case of The Wave, cosmetic and structural issues, including aging flooring, booths, electrical and plumbing lines, were to blame.

Jeff Armour, house manager for The Wave and The Spoke, added the amount of money required to maintain the facility outweighed the cost of renovating it. Updates were required, as The Wave has become “the USC flagship” when hosting important events.

“We decided to put our best foot forward,” Armour said.

While The Wave’s layout has not changed much, there are noticeable improvements.

Wave's new layout

In addition to the lowered floor, which increases the window size overlooking campus, the stage, shooter bar and staircase to the mezzanine have been removed, opening the floor for more seating space " including more booths. A portable stage will be erected for concerts, and the space the stage once occupied is now available for private functions. A moveable dividing wall separates the conference space from the dining area. These improvements should lend themselves to a better concert venue, allowing for more open space and a better view of the stage.

Finally, the mezzanine has been abandoned, due to the high renovation and removal costs.

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