Laurier Facilities Historical Overview

The Early Years

Laurier’s beginning can be traced back to the opening of the Evangelical Lutheran Seminary, founded in Waterloo in 1911. The Evangelical Lutheran Synod of Canada was eager to establish Canada’s first seminary school for training Lutheran ministers. Though originally intended to be in Toronto, the Waterloo Board of Trade offered to purchase and donate seven acres of land on the outskirts of Waterloo. After the Synod agreed, the estate of a local industrialist was purchased at the corner of Albert and Bricker Streets, with the Board of Trade purchasing and donating an adjacent property.

In 1915, a dormitory and an administration building were constructed, and the Waterloo College School was founded alongside the seminary to provide preparatory education. In 1924, the newly named Waterloo College began offering its first degree program, a Bachelor of Arts.


Waterloo Lutheran Seminary’s first building and student body, 1911.

Waterloo Campus History: 1950‑2020

The years following the Second World War saw increased investment in Waterloo College, as returning veterans flooded postsecondary institutions. In 1949, a dining hall was constructed, and in 1953 the school opened its Teaching and Administration building (known today as the Arts Building). Around this time, Waterloo College began purchasing adjacent residential properties for future growth.


New Quadrangle, Theatre Auditorium and MacDonald House Residence, 1963.

The 1960s

By the 1960s, it was clear to the Canadian government that the influx of new students was not slowing and was projected to increase as a result of the post-war population boom. Based on this, renewed attention was given to Canada’s postsecondary institutions, and new government funding policies were implemented. A building boom followed as a women’s residence (Clara Conrad Residence), men’s residence (MacDonald House), student services building, theatre auditorium and new dining hall were constructed between 1961-1962. The original estate house and dining hall were demolished shortly thereafter to make way for a new seminary building, while a third residence (Willison Hall) was built, alongside additional wings for the Arts building and Clara Conrad Residence.

In the mid to late 1960s rapid development on the Waterloo campus continued, notably including construction of the first two floors of the Library. Two floors were soon found to be insufficient, and an additional three stories were added followed by another expansion, eventually totalling seven floors. A new residence building was constructed (Little House) with a wing added to the Clara Conrad Residence. Two residences for graduate students were also built (Ulrich Leupold Residence and W.D. Euler Residence), and a unique, post-modern house for the university’s president, which would eventually become part of Alumni Hall.

The 1970s

By the early 1970s the university’s funding sources no longer satisfied its increasing operating costs. To better secure government funding, the Lutheran Synod relinquished its sponsorship, though Waterloo Lutheran Seminary remained federated with the university. To meet government policies to secure funding the university needed to rebrand, which resulted in Waterloo Lutheran University becoming Wilfrid Laurier University (Laurier).

Construction continued throughout the early 1970s. A new Students’ Union building, and Central Teaching building were constructed, which would eventually be renamed the Fred Nichols Campus Centre and Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB) respectively. During these years, the strategy for the campus’ physical environment shifted. New buildings were adjoined to existing buildings and entrances faced the campus interior, rather than onto surrounding streets. Demolition of the 1915 dormitory and previously acquired houses cleared land for parking lots. A new gymnasium, replacing the old dormitory’s, was included in a new Athletic Complex built at the corner of King Street and University Avenue.

In 1977, a new building for the school of business was approved: the Frank C. Peters Building. Following this, the later 1970s and early 1980s saw a pause in the construction of new buildings due to changes in federal government funding policies. Previous federal government funding policy was based on a cost-sharing program (used through the 1960s and 1970s). This required the federal government to match 50 cents per dollar spent by the provincial government on healthcare, postsecondary and social projects. This policy changed to a method of "block-funding," or general assignment of funds to the provinces with reduced national oversight. The impact on postsecondary infrastructure was significant as the federal government was no longer matching the provincial government’s spending, which in turn declined.


Waterloo campus from Seagram Drive, 1970s.


Frank Peters Building, late 1970s.

The 1980s

As a result of the change by the federal government, funding for significant capital construction projects was not readily available. Portable structures were used as classrooms and nearby apartment buildings were leased as residences. Funding pressures began to lift during the late 1980s, which led to the construction of a new five-storey residence (Bouckaert Hall) and new music building (John Aird Centre), including the Maureen Forrester Recital Hall.

The 1990s

Through the early 1990s, construction projects on campus shifted to Bricker Avenue. Two large buildings were constructed, including Bricker Residence, a twelve-storey apartment style residence, and the Science Building. The university also purchased a 1950s stadium on Seagram Drive, several nearby houses, some low-rise apartment buildings and an industrial building on Lodge Street. In 1999, Laurier purchased a large complex consisting of five apartment buildings and townhouse structures (Laurier Place).

The 2000s (2000-2009)

The 2000s saw a dramatic increase in enrolment for Laurier, resulting in a need for more space. The 2002 Ontario high school double cohort necessitated another building boom. Two academic buildings (Bricker Academic and Schlegel Building) and two large residences (King Street Residence and Waterloo College Hall) were built, as well as the Science Research Centre.

Purchases of existing properties continued with nearby homes, industrial buildings along Lodge Street and two elementary schools, St. Michaels and Northdale Public School. The St. Jerome’s College Building in downtown Kitchener was also purchased and renovated to become the home of the Faculty of Social Work. A complete renovation of the Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB) occurred in 2007.


Waterloo campus from west, 2002.

Details of 2000-2009 Projects

New Construction

  • Schlegel Centre: Built in 2002, this 44,361 gross square foot facility is a teaching and administration facility. It was originally constructed to house the expanding School of Business and provide additional teaching facilities for the 2002 double cohort. As of 2021, it provides classrooms, lecture halls, and office space for the registrar.
  • Waterloo College Hall: Built in 2002, this 94,641 gross square foot facility is a residence building containing 318 single bedrooms for first-year students.
  • Bricker Academic Building: Built in 2003, this 85,399 gross square foot facility is an academic and faculty office building. It contains lecture halls, classrooms, computer labs, and offices for the departments of Kinesiology, Health Sciences, Biology, Chemistry and Education.
  • Science Research Centre: Built in 2004, this 43,002 gross square foot facility is a research facility for the Faculty of Science. It houses laboratories and is used for research activities.
  • King Street Residence: Built in 2004, this 149,962 gross square foot facility is a first-year residence containing 325 single bedrooms. Office space for the Department of Residence is also present.
  • Career and Co-op Centre: Built in 2007, this 25,495 gross square foot facility is an office building and career centre. It includes 18 interview rooms for students to meet with prospective employers, offices for related staff, and programming areas.
  • Lyle S. Hallman: Originally built as a Catholic boys’ college in 1907, this 39,331 gross square foot facility was acquired by Laurier in 2004 and renovated. It opened in 2006 as the new home of the Faculty of Social Work, including offices, teaching spaces, and library facilities in downtown Kitchener.

Renovations / Additions

  • Northdale Campus: Originally built in 1958 as a public school, this 24,607 gross square foot facility was purchased by Laurier in 2004 and renovated. It is now a research facility housing the Movement Disabilities Research Centre and the Centre for Physically Active Communities.
  • Dr. Alvin Woods Building Renovation: Built in 1970 as the Central Teaching Building, this 95,362 gross square foot facility was fully renovated in 2007. The facility is now home to the Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Graduate Studies. It also contains teaching facilities and the Laurier Bookstore.


Lazaridis Hall, completed 2017.

The 2010s

Enrolment continued to expand Laurier’s space needs since the late 2000s, driving the acquisition of nearby properties, including the Ezra-Bricker portfolio. This portfolio now consists of ten apartment buildings and 29 houses. Lodge Street has seen new construction (Career and Co-op Centre, Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science) and the renovation of purchased buildings (Community and Workplace Partnerships at 12 Lodge Street and the Lodge Administration Building at 45 Lodge Street). However, the most prominent capital project on the Waterloo campus and Laurier’s largest to date is Lazaridis Hall, home to the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. This structure won numerous design and architecture awards upon its completion in 2017.

Alongside new construction projects, significant attention has been placed on Laurier’s aging capital assets in recent years. Expansions and renovation projects have included the Athletic Complex Fitness Centre Expansion (2014), the Frank C. Peters Building (2018), 202 Regina Street (2019), and the seminary building (2018), now known as Martin Luther University College. Further investment in new mechanical and electrical systems have provided for increased energy efficiency while also contributing to the renewal of Laurier’s facilities to ensure they continue to serve the Laurier community for years to come.

Details of 2010-2019 Projects

New Construction

  • Balsillie School of International Affairs (BSIA): In 2007, the BSIA was founded as a partnership between Laurier, the University of Waterloo, and the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). In 2011, the school relocated to the newly opened CIGI campus in uptown Waterloo.
  • Centre for Cold Regions and Water Science: Built in 2013 and expanded with a rooftop greenhouse in 2015, this 12,964 gross square foot facility is a research facility home to the Cold Regions Research Centre and the Laurier Institute for Water Science.
  • Lazaridis Hall: Completed in 2017, this 218,000 gross square foot facility was constructed as the new home for the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics. The facility is located on the former site of the St. Michaels elementary school. It obtained LEED Gold certification for its sustainable design features.
  • Microgrid Control Centre: Fully operational in 2020, this 1,274 gross square foot facility is an energy facility servicing Laurier’s recent infrastructure upgrade. An additional 5,220 square foot addition is currently under construction.

Renovations / Additions

  • Athletic Complex Fitness Centre Addition: The 2005 Fitness Centre addition was designed to accommodate a second floor. In 2013, a second-floor fitness area was added to the Fitness Centre along with a new double height entrance to the facility.
  • Lodge Administration Building: Originally constructed in 1969 as a church, this 4,867 gross square foot facility was fully renovated in 2017. It now holds the Board of Governor’s meeting room and an active-learning classroom.
  • Frank C. Peters Building Renovation: Built in 1979, this 76,194 gross square foot facility was originally used by the School of Business and Economics. After the school’s relocation to Lazaridis Hall, the facility was fully renovated in 2018 and is now used by the Faculty of Arts and Teaching and Learning centres. It also contains lecture halls and classrooms.
  • Martin Luther University College Renovation: Originally constructed in 1963, the mid-century modern building underwent a substantial renovation and addition that was completed in 2018. The facility contains offices, classrooms, student spaces and the Keffer Memorial Chapel.
  • 202 Regina Renovation: Constructed in 1955 as a factory, this 78,506 gross square foot facility was acquired by Laurier in 1989. As part of campus space realignment associated with the 2016 Lazaridis Hall construction and 2018 Peters renovation, 47% of 202 Regina was renovated to accommodate a consolidated home for the university’s administration departments.
  • Evolv1: Built as Canada’s first zero-carbon building, Laurier in partnership with University of Waterloo, Accelerator Centre and Sustainable Waterloo Region leased office space to conduct sustainable research and promote collaboration.
  • 72 Victoria Street: Originally built in 1903 as a factory, the building has been renovated over the years and is now home to a variety of companies such as real estate offices, tech companies and architectural firms. Laurier leased 9,658 square feet in 2019 to be an event and classroom space for the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.

Brantford Campus History: 1998‑2020

In 1998 Laurier and the City of Brantford entered into an agreement to open a downtown campus. Through this agreement, both parties aspired to create an innovative approach to community-based university access that differentiated itself from Laurier’s Waterloo campus and other universities.


Laurier's first building in Brantford, Carnegie Hall.

The First 10 Years

In September 1999, Laurier’s Brantford campus opened its doors in the newly renovated Carnegie Building. In 2001, Grand River Hall, located on Colborne Street, was acquired and renovated to house the bookstore, classrooms and office spaces, as well as residences on the upper floors. In 2004, the local post office building was converted into the Post House Residence, located at the corner of George Street and Dalhousie Street. Several other examples of adaptive, reconfigured capital projects can be seen throughout the campus and in the downtown core, including the Odeon Theatre, the Brantford Indigenous Students Centre (formerly known as Journalism House) and Wilkes House (renovated to include residence beds and a fitness facility).

The first new construction project on the Brantford campus was the Students’ Union Building. This building was funded by the Students’ Union and was completed in 2005.

Details of 1998-2009 Projects

Renovations / Additions

  • Carnegie Building: The Carnegie Building was the first Laurier building in Brantford when the campus opened in 1999. This 15,163 gross square foot facility was built in 1902 as a public library. The facility is currently home to the Welcome Centre, four classrooms, a computer lab and faculty offices.
  • Grand River Hall: Built in 1986, this 74,230 gross square foot facility was Laurier Brantford’s first residence. The facility was previously an office complex for Massey Ferguson. In 2001, the upper floors were converted into residence rooms which can now accommodate up to 150 students. The lower and main level contains a digital library, offices, classrooms, Service Laurier, Residential Services and a Game Design lab.
  • Post House Residence: Built in 1880 as Brantford’s post office, this 22,629 gross square foot facility located at 41 George Street, was renovated in 2003 as a residence and can accommodate 57 students in apartment-style rooms.
  • Odeon Theatre: Built in 1948 as a movie theatre for the Odeon corporation, this 18,074 gross square foot facility was last used as a theatre in 1999. In 2003, the facility was renovated for use by Laurier and Mohawk College and contains four lecture halls, computer lab, faculty offices and a student grad lounge.
  • Wilkes House Residence: Wilkes House was built in 1869 and was home to one of Brantford’s pioneering families. In 1972 the Rotary Club added a gymnasium for the Boys and Girls club of Brantford. In 2006, the 23,551 gross square foot facility opened as a residence building and athletic facility for the Brantford campus. The campus outgrew the athletic facility and moved into the new Laurier Brantford YMCA in 2018.
  • Indigenous Student Centre: Built prior to 1896, this 3,520 gross square foot house is used for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous learners who are studying at the university. The facility was purchased and renovated in 2005 for the Journalism program. In 2011, the old carriage shed that was connected to the main building by a breezeway was demolished and the facility converted to the Indigenous Student Centre. The main floor was renovated in 2020 to create a more open concept and inviting space for students.
  • Market Place: The building, located at 45 Market Street, was originally constructed in 1880 and is 9,312 gross square feet. Laurier began leasing the building in 2009. To accommodate Laurier’s needs, the first floor was renovated to house Special Constable Services and Career and Co-op. The second floor has remained vacant. In 2014, Laurier purchased the building. Currently, the first floor of the building is used by Special Constable Services and Brantford Police Services.
  • Market Darling Centre: Built in 1947, this 10,606 gross square foot facility was originally a grocery store. Laurier purchased the building in 2003 and leased the building to Nipissing University as part of an academic partnership. Nipissing University moved out of the building in 2016, and Laurier renovated the space for its new UXD program. It also contains a Makerspace and the Launchpad program.

New Construction

  • Lucy Marco Place: Built in 2006, this six-storey, 28 apartment, 32,895 gross square foot residence building can accommodate 112 students. The residence is connected to Heritage House, an affordable housing apartment complex, owned and operated by the City of Brantford.
  • Brantford Student Centre: Built in 2005, this 14,416 gross square foot facility is home to the Students’ Union and Wellness Centre. It includes a student lounge and space for campus clubs.

The 2010s

The next project was the Research and Academic Centre, which received funding from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program. The west wing opened in 2010, with the east wing opening in 2011. Designed to integrate into the heritage context of the campus and downtown core, the Research and Academic Centre houses several facilities including research labs, lecture halls, a 250-seat auditorium and an exterior courtyard connecting surrounding Laurier buildings. As well, two additional buildings were purchased and underwent extensive renovations to create the SC Johnson Building (2010) and 97 Dalhousie (2011).

Over time, Laurier’s Brantford campus has continued to outgrow its facilities so smaller residence buildings were leased throughout the downtown core. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger residences, such as the Lucy Marco Residence on Darling Street. In 2012, the historic Expositor Building, once home to the newspaper of the same name, was greatly expanded with residential apartments and became another leased residence for Laurier.

Laurier’s academic and administrative needs were also expanding rapidly, leading to a need to lease nearby office space on Dalhousie Street, in St. Andrew’s Church and at 274 Colborne Street.

The Laurier Brantford YMCA, a unique partnership between Laurier and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford, opened its doors to students and the community on Sept. 14, 2018. The Laurier Brantford YMCA serves both local community members and postsecondary students.

In 2014, One Market was purchased by Laurier from the City of Brantford. The building occupies approximately 350,000 square feet in central downtown Brantford, bordered by Dalhousie Street to the north and Colborne Street to the south. In 2019, significant renovations took place to consolidate program spaces and shift academic and administrative functions from leased spaces to a Laurier-owned building. Laurier International and classrooms began operating in One Market in the fall 2019 semester, with Student Services following shortly after during the winter of 2020.

Laurier’s Brantford campus is a combination of new and retrofit construction, embodying integration with the community. The campus’ history of adaptive re-use has seen innovative renovations to city buildings and continues to contribute to the revitalization and character of downtown Brantford.


Research and Academic Centre East, Brantford campus.

Details of 2010-2019 Projects

New Construction

  • Research and Academic Centre – West: Built in 2010, this 28,149 gross square foot building is a LEED Silver certified facility due to its sustainable design. The main floor is home to the Stedman Community Bookstore, Golden Grounds Coffee House, a living green wall, and student study and lounge space that is frequently used for campus events. The basement and upper floors contain large lecture halls, a meeting room, and faculty offices.
  • Research and Academic Centre – East: Connected to the west wing, the east wing of the building was completed in 2011 and is a LEED Silver certified building. This 36,115 gross square foot facility contains both the Faculty of Liberal Arts and the Faculty of Human and Social Sciences’ deans offices. The campus print shop is located on the main floor as well as the ICT offices. The basement and upper floors contain lecture halls, science labs, an Indigenous circle room and faculty offices.
  • Laurier Brantford YMCA: Built in 2018, this 120,000 gross square foot facility is a partnership between Laurier and the YMCA of Hamilton/Burlington/Brantford. During the project, nearly 428,000 artifacts were discovered which dated back to 500 BCE. The facility includes an aquatics centre, inclusive change rooms, double and single gyms, fitness centre, studios, consultation rooms, multi-purpose spaces and a student lounge.

Renovations / Additions

  • SC Johnson Building: Built in stages between 1907 and the 1970s, this 25,810 gross square foot facility was formally a CIBC bank and still contains original bank vaults, ceiling, and staircase. The facility was renovated in 2010 and now contains administrative offices, a lecture hall, quiet study lounges and computer labs for the Business Technology Management program.
  • 97 Dalhousie Street: The century-old commercial building, formerly the Moody’s Tavern Building, is 8,105 gross square feet and was purchased and fully renovated by Laurier, opening in 2011. The facility is now home to the Faculty of Social Work on the upper floor and an active-learning classroom on the lower level. On the main floor you will find the Yellow Brick Wall, which is an exhibition venue that displays and provides appreciation of Canadian art.
  • The Expositor: Built in 1895, this 89,954 gross square foot facility was home to the Brantford Expositor newspaper for over 100 years. The newspaper moved to a new location in 2010 and the building was renovated into a privately owned residence which can accommodate up to 213 students and which Laurier leases.
  • One Market: Built in 1986, this 346,636 gross square foot facility was formerly known as Market Square Mall. Laurier purchased the building in 2014 and began renovations in 2019. Laurier International is now located on the upper level and Students Services as well as a large student lounge are located on the main level in what used to be a large call centre.
  • 28/32 Market: Built in 1950, this 7,158 gross square foot building was originally an RBC location. The north side of the building is currently used to store surplus furniture and the south side is leased as a restaurant.