Monthly Archives

October 2016

Boots on the ground; Destination Project powers ahead

By | Construction

As the winter months quickly approach, work on the Destination Project is far from slowing down. University President, Dr. Mike Mahon, recently toured the construction site and says the progress is remarkable.

University President Dr. Mike Mahon gets an on-the-ground update on the progress of the Destination Project build.


“I toured the site in early September and in that short amount of time it has undergone incredible change,” says Mahon.

The progression of the build has been moving ahead thanks to the considered planning, management and work of PCL Construction Management and U of L staff. The Destination Project has a hardworking team of project managers and administrators based in the construction trailer office on site. Project Director Brian Sullivan says the team working on the science and academic building is one of the best he’s worked with to date.

“The Destination Project is the biggest construction project this campus has seen, with the exception of the original University Hall building. There are so many moving pieces that go into a project of this size and having a team that works well under that type of stress is absolutely essential. Better yet is that we still manage to have a laugh in the process,” says Sullivan.

Board of Governors Chair, Kurt Schlachter (BSc ’00), says adding to the success of the build is the quality of local industry partners.

“Southern Alberta is home to some of the best trades and supply companies in the industry. Companies like D.A Electric Ltd., Reive Plumbing and Heating Ltd. and Maverick Concrete Ltd. are all based in our community and we’re able to directly inject significant dollars into the local economy by simply hiring the best in the business. It’s a win-win situation,” says Schlachter.

Board of Governors Chair, Kurt Schlachter (BSc ’00) listens as Project Director Brian Sullivan updates the group on the progress of construction.

Board of Governors Chair, Kurt Schlachter (BSc ’00) listens as Project Director Brian Sullivan updates the group on the progress of construction.


In addition to the construction industry adding to the smooth progression of the Destination Project, faculty input has been key in the planning and design stages of the new science and academic building. Mahon believes without the careful consideration and time from faculty and staff, the end result would be a mere shadow of what we will see with the final product.

“Having faculty input and opinion in the design stage was paramount to ensuring the Destination Project is a success not only for students and the southern Alberta community, but for our talented team of researchers and faculty,” says Mahon. “It will ensure our own people are equipped with the resources they need to power ahead in their research and make new and exciting discoveries right here at home.”

Dr. Janay Nugent (BA '95) and Students' Union President, Cameron Howey enjoy a tour of the Destination Project.

Dr. Janay Nugent (BA ’95) and Students’ Union President, Cameron Howey enjoy a tour of the Destination Project.


With the final concrete raft slab pour taking place in the coming weeks, the next significant milestone will be the addition of a second tower crane in mid-November. Take a tour from above the future home of science in southern Alberta by watching fly-over drone footage at

Destination Project powers ahead with ‘Big Yeller’

By | Construction

The Destination Project site has welcomed a big, bright yellow buddy to do some seriously heavy lifting. The tower crane, nicknamed “Big Yeller” which stands over 200 ft tall, is owned by PCL Construction Management. PCL Superintendent, Daryl Campbell, says it took some careful forethought and manpower to get Big Yeller on site.

A Birdseye view of Big Yeller hard at work on the Destination Project site.

“The planning process for this crane took quite some time as there are a lot of moving pieces to organize when using this type of crane. Just to physically get the crane here took nine trucks which drove from Nisku, south of Edmonton,” says Campbell.

The tower crane is assembled in sections and stages and once it’s complete, Big Yeller has the lifting capacity of around 26,500 pounds when the load is closest to the mast. At the tip of the crane’s jib, the crane can lift around 10,800 pounds. This kind of lifting capacity will come in handy as the columns and concrete levels start to take shape.

Taking around two days to completely erect and have operational, the tower crane is built by a team of seven people. Not to mention the other crane which was needed to help construct it.

“The red, lifting crane that had been onsite to assist with the assembly of the tower crane has a lifting capacity of around 500 tons and there are very few in Western Canada,” says Campbell.

Apart from standing out on the campus landscape, another unique fact about Big Yeller is that the pad or base of the crane is actually built right into the raft slab of the building. This makes the bottom 8 ft. section of crane somewhat sacrificial. Once Big Yeller has completed its final duty, the crane will be broken down again and a welder will come to cut the base section down to the raft slab and then the final concrete slab will be poured right over the top.

Big Yeller will be joined by another tower crane mid-November, but it won’t stand quite as tall as it’s big brother. Watch Big Yeller do some seriously heavy lifting by checking out the live webcams at