The AMS will be building a new office for the Sexual Assault Support Center (SASC). The new office is intended to increase capacity and efficiency for SASC, which offers support and education regarding sexualized violence.
The build is projected to cost $218,380, with funds to come from the Capital Projects Fund. Leaders of the AMS and the SASC started planning the new office in January 2020 and aim to complete the project by August, in time for the school year.
Current SASC headquarters faces issues with privacy and accessibility, which designers have worked to rectify with the new space’s plan. Its current location near a busy elevator and split space between two smaller offices in the Nest can make it difficult for students to easily and discreetly seek help at the SASC.
“Our new office will provide a welcoming and supportive environment in a quieter and more secluded location,” said SASC manager Annette Angell to The Ubyssey.
One key element of the future offices is its centralized floor plan. SASC offices are currently split between two locations within the Nest — a decentralized model that has caused confusion and limited the SASC’s operations.
“The SASC has outgrown our current office space, which has only 3 workstations for 10 staff and over 30 volunteers,” Angell said. “The new office space will provide additional workspace for our staff and volunteer team as well as additional support rooms for students accessing our support and advocacy services.”
The new 1,425 square foot office is projected to triple SASC’s capacity. The larger space will allow for “in-office support rooms available for survivors of sexualized violence to meet with SASC support workers,” Angell said.
Another highlight of the project is its emphasis on a “visible yet invisible” space. Current offices are located next to a Nest elevator, making the location less private than ideal.
“Individuals must be able to locate the centre without asking, yet still be discreet to respect the individual’s right to privacy and perhaps their safety in making the decision to seek support,” said Michael Kingsmill, AMS project manager and design services.
In addition to relocation, the new offices feature soundproofing and a restructured floor plan. “We’ve been able to include multiple elements that highlight the location of the office while simultaneously creating a sense of privacy,” said AMS President Cole Evans.
“The present SASC location was to be a temporary spot until the Life Building was fitted out,” Kingsmill said. “However, since that time ten years ago, things have changed … this new location in the Nest is a great opportunity to address the structural shortfalls and provide for the future.”