U of C hopes to raise $60 million for new engineering building

Students in the Schulich School of Engineering can look forward to more construction if the University of Calgary obtains funds for a new engineering building on campus.

“Serious discussions started around four years ago,” said U of C executive director of development Jolene Livingston. “It’s pretty obvious that the buildings are 40 years old and the space is not up to the standard that it should be.”

The school is in the third year of a five-year fundraising effort that hopes to bring in $60 million, with a large portion going toward the new building. Livingston said the school has collected more than half their goal to date.

“We publicly launched our campaign on June 8 and we’re having some very promising discussions in the community,” said Livingston. “We are very optimistic that we’ll make our goal.”

The school still needs the support of the provincial government for the facility to go forward as fundraising will only cover a small part of the total infrastructure costs. The U of C hopes that with the project as the school’s number one priority, the proposal will be a success.

“Our big push is to find capital funding,” said Livingston. “It has been submitted for the last couple of years to the government.”

While Livingston said there is no set timeline for construction until funding is secured, the project will likely take anywhere from 18-24 months after ground is broken based on similar projects.

The new building’s planned location is on the south side of the fire sticks, outside the current Schulich Engineering building.

“We’re just going into the design schematics,” said Livingston. “Right now we’re planning for new teaching and learning spaces, two lecture theatres, new classrooms equipped with undergraduate and graduate labs and specialized computer labs, research space, an engineering career centre, our student activities centre and smaller spaces for student clubs and teams to work together.”

“It’ll be a multi-purpose building. We’re just moving through detailed design right now so we’ll have specifics laid out hopefully within the next six to nine months,” said Livingston.

Schulich School of Engineering Students’ Union faculty representative Vien Nguyen said the new building will provide a front door to the engineering area of campus. He felt there was little cohesion within the current building and looks forward to what the larger space will mean for students.

“There’s not enough space to be honest,” said Nguyen. “There’s so many professors and research projects going on, space is pretty limited. There’s not very much space for club activities.”

Livingston said the U of C took this concern into consideration when planning the new space.

“We’re not big enough for the number of students that we have,” she said. “We’ve done a cross country assessment and we know that.”

“We’re actually meeting with the architects this September to talk to them about their plans for student spaces and stuff like that,” said Nguyen. “We really want the new building to have a lot of spaces for clubs and teams to work and just get together and eat and study together.”

The Schulich School of Engineering is currently in the first phase of a three phase renovation and expansion project.

The building’s current renovation project is aimed for completion by March 2011, before expansion can begin.

Phase one was jointly funded by the provincial and federal government for a combined $25.5 million.

Funding for phases two and three, which include the new building, is still in development.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.