Before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, students had the luxury of sitting back, relaxing, and taking a mid-day nap in room E210. Photo credit: Nicole Mccormick

Juggling a full course load, exams, part-time work and coping with a global pandemic — there is no doubt that catching a few mid-day Zs might be just what every Algonquin College student needs from time to time.

Napping on an uncomfortable counter stool by Starbucks just wasn’t cutting it for AC students in November of 2016, which is why the Students’ Association (SA) invested in two state-of-the-art MetroNaps nap pods located in silent study room E210.

These comfy bubbles of silence located directly one floor above the Starbucks in E-Building were adapted from the capsule hotel concept. This architectural wonder was developed by famed Japanese architect Kisho Kurakawa in 1979, catering to sleepy travellers looking for affordable and minimalistic sleeping arrangements.

Nap pods gained traction in North America around 2014 in response to a growing demand among students and workers alike for mid-day naps to boost productivity.

“The SA decided to install nap pods to provide students with a quiet place to rest and relax, if need be,” said Stafford Rollocks, senior manager, finance and administration officer for the SA. “They had been greatly utilized by students up until the pandemic forced the closure of the room.”

The MetroNaps nap pods on AC’s Woodroffe campus have been closed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March of 2020 and students are yearning for their return.

“I was in my last semester of school when they brought in the nap pods,” said Jesse Cameron, an automotive service technician graduate from the college. “I took full advantage of the nap pods when I was at school — I might have been asleep more than I was awake.”

Although there is no guarantee that the silent study room will reopen anytime soon to serve students’ napping needs, the SA will be reassessing the closure of room E210 in January of 2022 based on public safety protocols to make a determination.