June 28, 2022

How to navigate Swann Mall as landscape transformation nears finish line

Construction continues on main campus hub through fall 2022; learn more about closures and alternate routes
Swann Mall construction
View of Swann Mall from construction area of MacKimmie Block, July 2020. Dave Brown, Libraries and Cultural Resources

Despite the orange fences and piles of dirt, our ugly duckling is slowly turning into a beautiful swan as landscape construction continues on Swann Mall on main campus.  

Swan Mall, located between the Administration Building and MacKimmie Tower, has been under construction since 2018. Relandscaping Swann Mall is part of the University of Calgary’s sustainable landscape practice to promote biodiversity health, human well-being and climate regulation. Returning Swann Mall back to its natural grassland and prairie roots will help increase sustainability on campus, says Boris Dragicevic, UCalgary’s associate vice-president of facilities development.    

“We hope that relandscaping Swann Mall can help bring the campus together to encourage a deeper connection to the land and create a more resilient environment on campus,” says Dragicevic. 

The design of Swann Mall’s landscaping is based on increasing UCalgary’s natural resiliency and adaptation through four key strategies:  

  • Build soil health by increasing the soil depth to traditional levels and protecting the soil with suitable drought-resistant and native vegetation to increase soil carbon sequestration, water retention and vegetative health

  • Manage precipitation through infiltration to support nature’s water cycle; create potential landscape amenities to provide a space for mental health, respite, relaxation and rejuvenation on campus; and reduce flooding in our larger community

  • Reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events, such as the rain and heavy wind that swept through campus recently, through plant and tree groupings that are more resilient to high wind and other disruptive events

  • Promote biodiversity health through connective corridors of native and adaptive plant species for the benefit of humans and other species 

The Swann Mall landscaping plan helps UCalgary achieve its goal of having a healthy campus community and environment. Having sustainable landscaping elements improves air quality, helps with climate regulation and supports habitat health.  

Swann Mall construction

Swann Mall construction in July 2020.

Dave Brown, Libraries and Cultural Resources

Overcoming navigational challenges  

As construction continues on Swann Mall’s landscaping through the summer and into the fall, campus navigation can at times become confusing. “We’ve had to close certain areas, which causes challenges when people are trying to get around campus, particularly to Mac Hall,” says Dragicevic. 

Signs are posted on fencing around the construction area to help the campus community get where they need to go. 

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, as construction of Swann Mall is expected to be concluded Oct. 31,2022 with the completion of the Block and Link. 

In the meantime, here are some tips on navigation, closures and alternate routes: 

  • The roadway between MacKimmie Tower and the Taylor Family Digital Library will remain closed until Aug. 31 

  • During the road closure, the Tower can be accessed from the east, or entering via the basement corridor from Murray Fraser Hall (MFH) and the Professional Faculties Building (PFB)

  • Alternate vehicle routes to get to MacEwan Student Centre loading docks are via the west side of the Taylor Family Digital Library

  • The emergency door at the east end of the Taylor Family Digital Library will be open and an emergency path will be available, if needed. MacKimmie Tower’s evacuation muster point has been temporarily reassigned to the food court between MFH and PFB 

  • Flaggers will be placed at the north, south and east ends of the site to facilitate pedestrian traffic  

Questions? Contact facilities at myfacilities@ucalgary.ca or call the Facilities call centre at 403-220-7555.  

The University of Calgary’s Institutional Sustainability Strategy provides a road map for continuous improvement in our pursuit of excellence and leadership in sustainability. We aim to be a Canadian post-secondary education leader in sustainability in our academic and engagement programs, administrative and operational practices, and through supporting community and industry in their aims for leadership in sustainability. Learn more about UCalgary’s leadership in sustainability