The University of Saskatchewan is renovating five buildings using the $85-million bond received from the provincial government last year. The university is also planning to construct a $300-million interdisciplinary facility for students in engineering and other applied sciences.
The new building will be taking the space of the Rutherford Rink, which College of Engineering dean Suzanne Kresta hopes will be demolished this spring. According to Kresta, it has been 17 years since the last renovations were made to the Engineering Building.
Anthony Vanelli, provost and vice-president academic at the U of S, says the construction of the new building will not happen until 2021. Depending on funding, the university needs a minimum of two years to make sure they have done their due diligence in planning the facility.
Vanelli says that the establishment will have study spaces and lecture rooms where future interdisciplinary work between different programs will be incorporated into new programs.
“That facility will have … learning and teaching spaces … to work cooperatively on [an] interdisciplinary program between engineering, applied science, agricultural sciences, business, even [the] veterinary college and health sciences,” Vanelli said. “That will be an opportunity to work together on shared initiatives in there.”
Kresta says that they need study spaces that will help engineering students work efficiently rather than spending time looking for space in the college or walking to the other side of campus.
“Our students spend a lot of time walking over to arts and science and back again. We will have facilities in the new building for small group work, design teams, graduate student meetings [and] co-op interviews — all those things that happen in small groups,” Kresta said.
The College of Agriculture and Bioresources and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine are onboard with the project. Although, according to Kresta, these colleges will not be the only ones using it as she is in conversations with other colleges.
Kresta says that they are looking at designing a facility certified by Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and that it will have solar panels installed on its roof. With a LEED-certified design, the cost to run the new building will be the approximately the same as the cost to run the Rutherford Rink.
“The current design of the building has more solar panels on the roof than currently exist in the entire city of Saskatoon. We anticipate that the cost of running the new building, which is related to the environmental footprint, … will be the same as for the current space even though it will have significantly more room,” Kresta said.
Kresta says that the building is an investment that will contribute to Saskatchewan for years to come. It is the solution that best fits the province’s and the university’s needs.
“We want to build the building that … the province needs for the next 40 years. We don’t want to build something that’s already too small by the time it’s built,” Kresta said. “We have gone through several business models. This is the one that makes the most sense for the province, for the university and [for] the college itself.”
J.C. Balicant Narag / Outreach Editor
Photo: Riley Deacon / Photo Editor