By Laurie Drukier
The next few months will see the beginning of the most dramatic physical changes the University of Calgary has undergone since the 1988 Olympics. Evidence of the $1.5-billion capital program is all around campus, from the fencing outside the Dining Centre for International House, to drawings for the Taylor Family Digital Library and Taylor Quadrangle on the university website.
The library and the university’s three other major capital projects—a new building for the Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, the Experiential Learning Centre and the Urban Campus Partnership—will allow the enrolment of 7,000 more students by 2010.
The Taylor Family Digital Library and Taylor Quadrangle, in particular, will change the look of the main campus. In addition to creating a focal point for students and community members, the library will create a central, public hub.
One possibility that’s currently being investigated to make way for the new library and adjacent green space is the removal of Craigie Hall C.
A decision to remove a building isn’t taken lightly, says Mike McAdam, vice-president (finance and services.) “All options must be explored, many factors need to be considered and many people need to be consulted.”
Most of those who currently work, teach or learn in Craigie C have already had meetings with Campus Planning Associate Vice-President Karen Snyder and her team to talk about options. A consultant is also leading a feasibility and impact study.
Campus Planning has been working for some time on a five-year plan to accommodate the upcoming campus-wide “shuffling” of the office, classroom and other spaces that will be required during construction and once the new buildings are ready for occupants. The goal is to have the right tasks happening in the right spaces—for the long term.
“Most people don’t know that there are locations on campus being used as offices that were originally intended as labs,” Snyder says. It’s space use that doesn’t manage our assets to their fullest potential, she says.
Over the next few months, Campus Planning will be holding brown bag sessions and other meetings to gather feedback and make sure that those affected by the digital library construction are involved in the decision-making process. Notices about brown bag sessions will be posted in Craigie Hall and sent to the appropriate mailman lists.
Following university policy, all new buildings will be designed as “green” buildings with targets for energy efficiency and other environmental indicators. The new buildings are being designed to achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum certification with the Canada Green Building Council— the highest level.
Sustainability is also important for moves, renovations and dismantling, says McAdam. “Highest and best-use principles, life-span factors and energy efficiency are all considered and evaluated. In the case of renovations and dismantling, materials are diverted from landfill by recycling or reuse where possible.”
University architect Jane Pendergast thinks the university has the potential to grow into a truly remarkable environment. “As we add more buildings, we add more density and it becomes even more important to ensure our public spaces are beautiful,” she says.
Brian Sinclair, dean of EVDS and presidential advisor on design, agrees. “We need to create people places where we feel welcomed, comfortable, safe and satisfied,” he says.
The volume of renovations and new building means that some activities will move to interim space, but once the shuffling is over and the new buildings are operational, everyone should be settled into new or renovated classrooms, labs and offices.
"Space shuffles may be an inconvenience, but they will not interrupt or halt any services, classes or research activities,” promises Snyder. And it means more students will have access to new and improved spaces for meeting, studying and research.