By Samuel Liaw
While speaking to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce on Mon., Feb. 23, University of Calgary President Dr. Harvey Weingarten unveiled the Urban Centre Initiative. It will create a downtown campus for the university and the community.
The goal is to establish better relationships with the community by being at the heart of the city. Many faculties such as, the Haskayne School of Business, and the Faculties of Medicine, Social Work, and Fine Arts will have operations downtown.
“An urban campus allows us to provide better service to the community and, frankly, it also enhances the teaching and research we do in these areas,” said Dr. Weingarten.
Currently, the Urban Centre Initiative is in its early stages. Before the actual construction begins, it requires approval from a number of committees.
The Students’ Union is thrilled with the UCI potential.
“We truly believe the university should reach the community, and this urban initiative project will do just that,” said SU President Jayna Gilchrist. “It will be a lot easier to establish local partnerships with the community.”
Vice-President External Roman Cooney said it’s a mistake to see this as simply a satellite campus. It will provide opportunites for students to see the impact of their educatino on the world, but it will also benefit Calgary.
“For the city, this could be an important catalyst for development in the East Village, which is a high priority,” said Cooney. “Whatever we do there would be an anchor for much larger development and potentially a bridge, east and west and north and south, over the railroard tracks. At this stage, they are blue-skying all of the possibilities.”
The Faculty of Environmental Design will have an important role in designing the downtown campus. They are currently drawing up blueprints in an office on 11 Ave. S.E., the proposed site of the downtown campus.