Nov. 16, 2016

University of Calgary officially opens upgraded engineering complex

Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex unveiled to the public

The Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada and the philanthropic community made it possible

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

The expansion phase of the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary is now complete with the $174-million Canadian Natural Resources Limited Engineering Complex officially opened on Tuesday, Nov. 15.

The Government of Alberta and Government of Canada came together with Canadian Natural Resources Limited and community partners to create valuable new space for teaching, learning and research. This renovation and expansion project is seen as a significant advancement for the future of this province and this country.

“I wish to thank our provincial and federal governments whose support for this project represents a direct investment in our students, our university and our city,” says Elizabeth Cannon, president of the University of Calgary. “Thanks to their vision and that of our donors — including Canadian Natural Resources Limited and Seymour Schulich — we can continue to develop engineers whose innovative, solutions-based thinking is vital to developing our economy and society.”

Bill Peterson, Marlin Schmidt, Bill Rosehart, Elizabeth Cannon, Reg Crowshoe, and Manpreet Deol.

Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

Highlights of the expansion

This expansion and renovation project adds 18,300 square metres to the engineering complex and renovations to an additional 11,000 square metres of existing space within the Schulich School of Engineering. It provides capacity for up to 400 additional engineering students. The building opened to students in September 2016 featuring new study spaces, two floors of research labs and an expanded student lounge. The engineering expansion also includes interactive design labs to foster hands-on learning and practical skills to help students develop new inventions, conceive startup companies or create inspiring technologies.

Strong support from the Government of Alberta, the Government of Canada and the philanthropic community, including a notable gift from Canadian Natural Resources Limited, made this project possible.

“Education is the cornerstone of a healthy economy, which is why our government is proud to support post-secondary institutions as they prepare Albertans for success. The expansion of this facility will provide the best opportunities for Alberta’s students to prosper in a changing economy because good jobs begin with a good education,” said Marlin Schmidt, minister of Advanced Education.

More than 250 people gathered to celebrate the official opening.

Strengthening Canada as a global centre for innovation

“The Government of Canada is pleased to be able to contribute to the expansion and renovation of the engineering complex at the University of Calgary. These infrastructure investments will create good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and prosper today, while also delivering sustained economic growth for years to come. Through the Strategic Investment Fund, we are strengthening the foundation for building Canada into a global centre for innovation,” said Kent Hehr, minister of Veterans Affairs and associate minister of National Defence.

In keeping with the university’s commitment to sustainability, a top priority for the project was to strive for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by using the latest energy saving technologies. This building also preserves aspects of the university’s 50-year history by incorporating features such as the original 1960s staircase and using some former exterior walls as interior walls within the complex.

Steve Laut, president of Canadian Natural Resources Limited, said contributing to the engineering complex was an important way to help to ensure the Calgary community stays vibrant, regardless of the economic climate.

“The new complex makes a great engineering school that much better,” says Laut. “It enhances the learning environment for world-class researchers and for the students to find practical and creative solutions to complex problems. These are solutions that will not only benefit industries like oil and natural gas, but are solutions that can be shared with sectors across Canada and around the world.”

Dancers from Platinum Performing Arts and Bishop Carroll High School perform during the opening.

Benefits extend beyond oil and natural gas sectors

The expanded engineering complex was designed to help meet Alberta’s long-term need for engineers in the coming decades including emerging fields such as clean energy technology.

“This renovation and expansion allows us to transform engineering education and research at the University of Calgary,” said Bill Rosehart, dean of the Schulich School of Engineering. “We can improve the quality of education our students receive with more hands-on learning spaces. And we can build on our strengths as leading researchers with some of the most collaborative research labs in the country. This expansion is going to make everyone at the Schulich School of Engineering better able to reach their full potential.”

While the new building opened in the fall of 2016, engineering complex renovations will continue into 2017, creating even more innovative spaces for engineering students and researchers.