University of Calgary

Major funding announced

May 19, 2009
Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice announces funding for two major campital projects at U of C. / Photo: Ken Bendiktsen
Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice announces funding to build an energy-efficient cogeneration plant and to outfit the Taylor Family Digital Library with the latest information technology when it opens in 2011. / Photo: Ken Bendiktsen

Economic stimulus boosts
U of C building projects

Two of the University of Calgary’s top-priority capital projects have received significant funding from the federal and provincial governments as part of their economic stimulus plans for Alberta and Canada. In an announcement on campus today, Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Calgary Montrose MLA Manmeet Bhullar announced a $113-million investment in the university’s plan to build an energy-efficient cogeneration plant and to outfit the Taylor Family Digital Library with the latest information technology when it opens in 2011. The investment comes at a critical time because it represents hundreds of jobs for local tradespeople, technicians, architects and engineers.

“Thanks to the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, we continue to move forward on our top-priority capital projects. We are also very proud that our growth plans are now part of both governments’ efforts to create jobs and stimulate the economy,” U of C President Harvey Weingarten said. “The University of Calgary is undergoing a dramatic transformation in terms of new construction. These projects will help ensure we continue to provide our students with the best post-secondary education possible and dramatically reduce the environmental impact of our operations through significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.”

Through its Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the Government of Canada awarded $29.8 million for the new cogeneration plant and a campus-wide energy performance program that will convert the ageing Heating & Cooling Plant into a 12-15 megawatt cogeneration facility. The new system will generate electricity from natural gas and capture the waste heat to be used in buildings across campus. It will result in $3.5 million in cost savings on energy bills per year and reduce the University’s carbon dioxide emissions by 80,000 tonnes per year when it comes online by the end of 2011.

“The Knowledge Infrastructure Program provides an opportunity for effective partnerships between the province of Alberta and the federal government during this time of economic uncertainty,” said Prentice. “Not only are we bringing solid cooperative efforts to deepen support for post-secondary education, but we are investing in world class technology aimed at reducing harmful greenhouse gas emissions.”

At the same time, $27 million in federal funds will be put towards state-of-the-art digital learning tools for the Taylor Family Digital Library and the construction of a new $15 million High Density Library at the Spy Hill Campus. The Taylor Family Digital Library is currently under construction west of the MacKimmie Library complex. When complete in March 2011, the digital library will provide a wide range of resources to the community, including online access University library holdings and academic journals, multimedia labs, a 3-D visualization lab, video conferencing facilities and new homes for The Nickle Arts Museum and the University Archives. The Government of Alberta committed to match the federal funds through its Campus Alberta Infrastructure and Maintenance Program, which was announced in the 2009 budget last month.

“These projects are critical to the support of science, technology and all research undertaken at the University of Calgary,” said Bhullar. “The Taylor Family Digital Library project will be a foundation for teaching and research at the University of Calgary and will support researchers throughout Campus Alberta.”

For more information about the U of C’s capital expansion plans visit:

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