W.A.C. Bennett Library Master Space Plan

exterior image of the W.A.C. Bennett Library, SFU Burnaby

Master space plan

Located in the centre of the Burnaby Campus, the W.A.C. Bennett Library is viewed by the campus community as a place of knowledge discovery, creation, and exchange; a central hub where students and faculty connect across communities to collections, research tools, and expertise.  A major renewal process will provide the opportunity to transform the Library into an inspiring learning and research hub for future generations of students and faculty, one that enables discovery, enhances learning, engages research, and fosters, respects and sustains our community.

WAC Bennett Master Space Plan Executive Summary

WAC Bennett Master Space Plan Report

Appendix G: Influences, Trends and Best practices in University Research Libraries


The WAC Bennett Library embarked on a master space planning effort to define the vision for the future of the Library, and to act as a road map for future improvements and upgrades.  The goal was to specify a complete spatial plan for the Bennett Library that is future-oriented and learner- and researcher-centred.  The plan was to be flexible and robust enough to adapt to future developments in teaching, research and learning. 

Renewal of the Library is a priority in the SFU Capital Plan 2019 – 2024, as the over 50 year old building requires a major infrastructure upgrade. 

The architectural firms selected to create the plan are the Miller Hull Partnership and WMW Public Architecture + Communication.   A Library Working Committee and a University Advisory Committee (membership below) were struck to guide the process, which ran from July 2017 through 2019.  The four phases of the process were: vision, analysis, refine, and production.

Input to the Working group is welcome by email (bennett-space-plan@sfu.ca).


The planning process began in July 2017 with the development of an Influences, Trends and Best practices in University Research Libraries presentation, which was discussed at a Visioning workshop with the Advisory Committee and at a Visioning Open House for the campus community.  A focus group with graduate students was held to gather the input of these important users, and meetings were held with campus stakeholders.  All Library staff were invited to complete a survey, and library managers participated in focus groups on collections, public-service and technology.  Key takeaways from these consultations have been compiled.


In September and October the architects studied and toured the building extensively, and met with Library managers individually to determine the requirements of each unit.  Currently a detailed programme is being developed for review.


Based on feedback gathered from the Library and University community, a vision for the future Library and a plan to re-imagine and transform the WAC Bennett Library has been created.  See the presentation boards for more information.

As part of this process, input from students, faculty, and the university community is essential.  The campus community was invited to review and provide additional feedback on the vision and plan at an Open House on Friday 11 January 2019.   On the same day, Library employees attended a presentation on the plan and the Advisory Committee met to review it.  Response to the vision and plan was positive, and people are enthusiastic about a WAC Bennett Library renewal.


Feedback from the Refine events was incorporated into the final report.

Advisory Committee

  • Joy Johnson, Vice-President, Research and International
  • Peter Keller, Vice-President, Academic and Provost
  • Jane Pulkingham, Dean, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Imin Chen, Associate Professor, Mathematics
  • Colette Colligan, Professor, English
  • Larry Waddell, Chief Facilities Officer
  • Annette Santos, Director, Student Engagement and Retention, Student Services
  • Gini Kuo, SFSS Business Faculty Representative / Jamie Zhu, SFSS Education Representative
  • TBD, GSS Representative
  • Gwen Bird, Dean of Libraries
  • Patty Gallilee, Associate Dean of Libraries, Collections and Scholarly Communication
  • Natalie Gick, Associate Dean of Libraries, Administrative Services

Working Committee

  • Ian Abercrombie, Director Campus Planning and Development
  • Garth Lauer, Building and Equipment Operations
  • Heather De Forest, Community Scholar Librarian
  • Jenna Thomson, Acting Head, Learning and Instructional Services
  • Nicole White, Head, Research Commons
  • Megan Crouch, Collections
  • Flora Liu, Loans/Receiving employee and Undergraduate student
  • Mark Westwood, SLC Peer and Undergraduate student
  • Natalie Gick, Associate Dean of Libraries, Administrative Services


A proposal to renew the WAC Bennett Library is part of the SFU Five-Year Capital Plan 2017 – 2022.   The building requires a major infrastructure upgrade to extend the life of the building and to address deferred maintenance, code, and accessibility issues; and a reorganization to modernize functionality and to meet the requirements of a student-centred, research-driven, and community-engaged university.

In preparation for a full renewal, and to inform incremental renovations, the Library and Facilities Services issued a Request for Proposal to create a Master Space Plan for the WAC Bennett Library.  The architectural firms selected are the Miller Hull Partnership and WMW Public Architecture + Communication.

The Plan will specify a complete spatial program for the WAC Bennett Library that is future-oriented and learner- and researcher-centred, and the supporting technology and infrastructure required.  The plan will identify new functional areas, as well as plans for the retention, modification or re-use of existing areas.  The Plan will be flexible and robust enough to adapt to future developments in pedagogy, research methodologies and student practices.

The Plan will both address the Library’s functional requirements, and accommodate the recommendations already compiled by Campus Planning and Development to renew the building infrastructure, systems (mechanical, electrical), and envelope.  

For information on other facilities projects at the W.A.C. Bennett Library see W.A.C. Bennett Library Renewal.