Queen's University Purchases an 1862 Building
Queen's University acquired Kingston's old Orphan's Home, which was constructed in 1862, to serve as the Students' Memorial Union, named in commemoration of students who died during the First World War. In its early days, the Union primarily functioned as a men's gathering space, providing amenities like a cafeteria, meeting and reading rooms, as well as offices for student societies.
Students' Memorial Union Fire
In September 1947, a fire broke out at the Students' Memorial Union, located on the grounds of the current John Deutsch University Centre. The fire caused extensive damage to the interior, and given that the building was already slated for replacement, authorities chose to demolish it due to its weakened condition. It was immediately rebuilt in 1948 while incorporating some of the original building’s furniture.
During the mid-1970s, significant renovations and expansions were carried out on the building to accommodate the increase in the student population at Queen's University since the 1950s. It was expanded once more with a new wing that housed Tricolour Outlet and the Underground, However, there were still traces of the Students Memorial Union all throughout the building, including a crest over the Union St. doors.
In 1976 the Students Memorial Union building got renamed to John Deutsch University Centre in recognition of the late Principal John Deutsch, who passed away that same year.
AMS & SGPS Executives Advocated for New JDUC
For two years, the AMS executive passionately advocated for a new JDUC, where students could come together, socialize, and have a space that all Queen's students would take pride in. The old JDUC had seen better days and was no longer meeting the needs of our student community.
Negotiations Between AMS & SGPS with Queen's University Begin
AMS & SGPS started negotiating the funding details with Queen's University for a new JDUC which led to fee referendums from both organizations to gain support from the students.
Students wanted to see and understand more about the project for which the AMS lobbied the University to hire architects to undertake a phased program of services. Phase ONE-Consultative and Preliminary Design Process; Phase TWO-Design Development and Construction Drawings and Phase THREE-Tendering and Construction. The AMS Board of Directors agreed to fund the Consultative and Preliminary Design Phase, to help members understand and visualize the outcome and benefits of the new JDUC.
In Fall 2018 Architects completed phase one-consultative and preliminary design, the process included consultations and town halls between students at large and specific stakeholders to understand their needs which ultimately drove the design and features of the building.
JDUC Redevelopment Design Wins National Architecture Award
The redevelopment plan, designed by architects from HDR and MJMA, includes a more modern approach for the JDUC. Adding new study and gathering areas for undergraduate and graduate students, increased dedicated clubs spaces, student run services, and accessible entrances and amenities. The proposed sustainability features have been designed to meet the requirements for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold certification.
The JDUC redevelopment project, spearheaded by the AMS and SGPS, was conditionally approved by Queen’s University’s Board of Trustees in March 2019.
Design Development Phase is Complete
Architects lead bi-weekly design meetings with all stakeholders within the following organizations; SGPS, AMS, Student Wellness, the Student Experience Office, and Queen’s Hospitality Services, to make the vision of the new JDUC a reality and make sure that it will fulfill student's needs. At the forefront of all design decisions, the architects referenced the vision of what Queen's student community expressed they wanted and needed for the new JDUC.
In fall 2020 the architects received the sign-off from all stakeholders.
Queen's University Board of Trustees Gives Final Approval
The AMS has long advocated for a new JDUC and thanks to the hard work of AMS and SGPS executives, Queen's University Project Planning team, and the architects over the past few years, the new JDUC project is now a reality!
When completed, the new JDUC will provide a modern, attractive, and accessible space that will serve as a new hub for student life, allowing future generations to thrive in their experiences at Queen’s University.
The New JDUC ‘Breaks Ground’ Construction is Underway!
Seven years have passed since the AMS Executives started advocating for the construction of a new and improved JDUC. During this time, past AMS Executives worked diligently to transform the vision Queen's students had about a new JDUC into a tangible reality.
Past AMS Executives worked diligently alongside SGPS Executives, the University Project Planning team and architects to transform the vision of Queen's student life into a modern and vibrant space. Efforts have paved the way for the exciting new chapter we are now ready to embrace, as we continue to build upon their achievements and fulfill the dreams of countless students who envisioned a vibrant, modern, and inclusive hub at the heart of Queen's University.
“I am proud to have played a part in moving this project forward, and I know the future AMS staff, clubs, and students will welcome having a fresh, new, and modern space when the JDUC re-opens in 2024.” said Zaid Kasim 2021-2022 AMS President, in an interview to the Queen's Gazette.
After almost 10 years after, long hours of planning, and meetings, the new JDUC is about to become a reality for all students at Queen's University.
Spaces created for student life at Queen's University!