For the first time since construction began back in July 2014 I donned a hard hat and steel toed boots for a tour of our existing construction site. I was immediately in awe – surprised by the magnitude of the building which is really coming to life.
Walking through the parkade, first floor and the beginnings of the second floor really brought to life the architectural drawings that I have spent hours studying – permanently engraved in my brain. It was almost like I was walking in the drawings pointing out to my tour escort the main entrance and building lobby and off to the west side the future medical clinic.
Heading north past the two elevator shafts and down the hallway I could envision all of the staff offices, future tenant spaces along the north side of the building with a lovely view of the trees and green space as well as walking up two stairs to the future staff kitchen on the north east corner.
Climbing up a ladder onto the second floor I was immediately struck by the amazing views of the surrounding areas including the North Shore Mountains and a glimpse of the downtown core from the future family resource centre and staff offices area.
Turning around and facing south I walked out to what will be a beautiful large partially covered outdoor deck that will be poured next week. The floors of the large meeting room that can be divided into three separate spaces along with the community kitchen are completed.
In addition, the forms for the concrete columns and walls for the two universally accessible three bedroom residential units are in place ready for concrete. By the end of April the decking for the third floor is scheduled for completion.
I was told by the site supervisor to watch out over the next two and a half month as more dramatic changes occur as the building construction accelerates and takes shape.
About the Author: Chris Friesen has been the ISSofBC Director of Settlement Services for over twenty years. He is currently leading the multi-year initiative to design and build a Metro Vancouver Regional Service Centre for Refugees. In spring 2016, this 58,000sf facility will become the first of its kind in the world, bringing together a variety of community and government services and organizations to meet the immediate needs of refugees and immigrants settling in BC. Learn more about the new Welcome House.