A story in Wednesday’s 24 Hours bears an image of some thin-looking mattresses on what looks like a squash court at BCIT as they claim to be the first post-secondary institution in British Columbia to have built a “nap room” for their students. As it turns out, BCIT, UBC has got you beat – by nearly half a century.
“Quiet rooms,” where students had access to beds and showers on campus in the old Student Union Building, opened in January of 1968, according to Michael Kingsmill, designer and project manager of the new AMS Nest.
“I think it was popular,” said Kingsmill. “A lot of students used it for staying up late and cramming.”
The rooms were located in the old SUB, right by the beloved Honour Roll. The washrooms, which are still there today, were the entrance to the quiet rooms. Students walked right through them and went as far back to house seven beds, a handful of lockers and showers in both men’s and women’s rooms.
However, the quiet rooms were shut down only a few years later in the early mid-1970s. There's some old “folklore,” as Kingsmill puts it, as to why the rooms were closed.
Apparently female students were often seen exiting the male rooms and vice versa – because who could've foreseen a problem with putting a bunch of 20-somethings in dark rooms with beds in the ’60s? Not only were students finding themselves in the wrong quiet rooms, but also oftentimes the wrong showers.
While the UBC design team has thought of reinstating nap rooms for many decades, they haven’t gone through with it as certain complications are likely to occur and history may begin to repeat itself.