While students have been enjoying the accommodations since the start of the school year, it wasn’t until Saturday (Sept. 7) afternoon that O’Regan Hall was officially introduced as the newest gem on the StFX campus.
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held on the front lawn of the hall with faculty, staff, students, community members and approximately 60 members of the O’Regan family gathered to celebrate the occasion.
StFX president Sean Riley spoke at the ceremony, praising the O’Regans for their contributions to the university and beyond.
“I graciously thank the entire O’Regan family for their significant contributions, not only to StFX, but to Nova Scotia,” Riley told the audience.
“There has been a long line of O’Regans who graduated from StFX. Their continued support and dedication to our university and Nova Scotia is to be celebrated,” he added.
In talking to reporters following the ceremony, Riley called it a “historic” day.
“It’s part honouring the O’Regans and also part getting the campus in the condition where we can recruit students from across the country and around the world,” he said.
As for whether the new residence, along with an identical residence beside it yet to be named, offers the desired balance between enrolment and accommodation, Riley noted the age and condition of other residences is a factor.
“You have to realize that, for example, we have older residences,” he said.
“Some of which we have to renovate, for example Lane Hall, and we’re moving away from Mount Saint Bernard because it was too expensive to renovate. We can provide a much higher level of accommodation here than if we renovate the Mount.”
Asked to compare the new residence to Governor’s Hall, Riley said it’s similar with added features.
“We added certain things to the building: a gym, a movie room, a library/meeting room and so on,” he said. “We took what students told us they really wanted and said we’re going to build a residence that is going to be as good as any residence in Canada. This will be, I think, one of the best university residences in Canada.”
Leon MacLellan, StFX director facilities management, picked up on the features.
“It’s a wonderful way for [students] to be introduced to this campus and in this corner of the campus,” he said. “It’s a real anchor for the southeast corner of the campus.”
MacLellan also talked about the energy features.
“We’re 50 per cent the energy consumption that a conventional building of this type would be,” he said. “That’s using geo-thermal design. There is also water reduction measures in the building so we use less water and improved comfort features. There’s the floor system that heats and cools the building using, as we say, from geo-thermal power.
“It’s all-together a great building with a very efficient design as well as, obviously, a great atmosphere for the students.”
The new residence is named in honour of Stephen O’Regan and the late Paul O’Regan, founders of O’Regan’s Automotive Group. Stephen O’Regan prepared a statement on behalf of his family.
“Many members of our family have benefitted from a superior education, as well as from their overall experience, at StFX,” O’Regan said. “My brother Paul would be pleased to know his legacy will live on at StFX.”
Following the ceremony, Stephen talked about his first impression upon seeing the building.
“I was just thinking we have our name on quite a few dealerships in Halifax, Dartmouth and Bridgewater but I don’t think there are any I’m more proud of than what I saw coming in here today,” he said.
Maggie Edwards is one of the 160-plus students enjoying the O’Regan Hall surroundings.
“I think the rooms are really beautiful,” Edwards, the residence assistant, said, noting the comfort is equally conducive for studying or relaxing.
“Beyond the rooms, it’s great for community building. We have a huge lounge on the fourth floor so it encourages all to be able to fit in the lounge rather than just a few people with a lounge on each floor. There is the movie room so people wouldn’t be kind of hiding away in their own room to watch a movie, we can all get together. And the workout room encourages a healthy lifestyle and it’s easy to access for all of us.
“I’m already loving it here.”