Will the SUB be accessible to all?

Creating an inclusive, welcoming environment for all students cannot be achieved without providing an accessible building that meets the needs of all users. In meeting this goal the SFSS has retained an accessiblity consultant Brad McCannell, from Canadian Barrier Free Design, to work with the design team in developing an access and inclusion strategy for the project. The first priority in developing an access strategy is to determine the appropriate level of access to be provided within the building which will be achieved through conversations with students. 

An access and inclusion workshop was held in April 2014 at the Think Tank (MBC 2270). Through discussion with participants, the following was determined to be a priority:

  • Simplicity of design.
  • Intuitive programming and wayfinding.
  • Use of natural materials in the finishing.
  • Lighting to delineate areas within the larger spaces.
  • Textures and colour as part of the overall wayfinding for the building.
  • Redundant, generous vertical circulation such as elevators.
  • Mental health issues are very important at SFU. The SUB design will consider mental health as well as physical disabilities.
  • Accessible furniture design and placement.
  • Acoustic treatments to dampen sound
  • Flexibility and ability to customize spaces within the building

The SUB Accessible Design Criteria Manual, provides project specific, baseline levels of access to be applied project wide, creating consistent and predicable access for students and staff. This manual addresses access to:

  • Stairs, Elevators and Walkways
  • Public Address/Presentation Systems
  • Floor/Surface Treatments
  • Meeting Space Requirements
  • Signage/Wayfinding Food Service Areas/Lounges/Seating
  • Millwork/Seating/Furniture
  • Emergency Systems/Procedures
  • Washrooms
  • Switches/Controls/Outlets
  • Access issues in interior spaces
  • Dance Studio Accessibility

During our extensive consultation with student groups and accessibility experts, we were reminded of the current lack of easily accessible gender inclusive washrooms at SFU.  

While many people don’t often face a need for a gender inclusive washroom, for a transgender or gender variant student, a gender inclusive washroom is a safe space, free from harassment and judgment. Gender inclusive washrooms also help serve disabled people with assistants of another gender, mothers with young sons, and fathers with young daughters.

To make our SUB as safe and inclusive as possible, our SUB will include gender inclusive washrooms on each of its five levels. Most will be single occupant washrooms, but the largest one, located on the 1000 level of the SUB, will have six individual toilet rooms, a shared sink area and even an individual shower area.

Learn more about accesibility and inclusion in the SUB by watching this Build SFU 101 video.