Library construction delayed

By Stephanie Mamayson

The first building scheduled for construction under the University of Calgary’s $1.5 billion capital expansion plan has been delayed.

The Campus Calgary Digital Library is one of several capital projects the university hopes will add 7,000 new student spaces by 2010, but in a recent release, the U of C announced an opening delay to 2009, pushing construction back an entire year.

At the CCDL groundbreaking ceremony last April, U of C president Dr. Harvey Weingarten announced the building will be located west of the MacKimmie Library Block and completed by 2008, with construction beginning in fall 2006.

The CCDL will see the relocation of many student services such as the Nickel Arts Museum, Information Technologies and the Information Commons as well as 500 new computer stations for student use and 20,000 square meters of new space.

The U of C’s plans to construct the CCDL are in motion, albeit slowly, and will be moved along by the recent hire of internationally-renowned, Montreal-based architectural firm Saucier + Perrotte.

Saucier + Perrotte will partner with Calgary firm Kasian Arch- itecture, Interior Design and Planning to create the facility, although the process is in its early stages.

“Design has just started,” said Gilles Saucier, of Saucier + Perrotte. “We are in the first stretch.”

Saucier said his company is known for integrating landscape and architecture, and this was a one of the reasons they were chosen.

“The CCDL is envisioned to be the heart of the campus, an occasion to restructure, change the image and create art for the university grounds,” he said. “This sentiment is echoed by campus officials, and is a contributing factor in the building’s delay.”

U of C head of information resources Tom Hickerson said the delays are necessary to do things right.

“The mission of the project is really essential–to integrate all programs and see the facility as a principle vehicle for student success,” said Hickerson.

Hickerson said the CCDL set-backs are tied to logistics as well, noting an interim period without a permanent director and increased building costs around the city are putting pressure on the project.

“We’re not exactly sure what the additional costs will be because they are still finalizing the design,” said Hickerson, who intends to fundraise when the new figures are finalized.

The final CCDL drawings will not be complete until the beginning of 2007, with construction beginning as soon as the seasons permit.

“We needed to go back and closely re-evaluate the building to make sure that all projected inclusions are appropriate, so the project has gone through a transition,” said Hickerson.

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