All Posts By

mwilliams

One year of construction

By | Community, Construction, Economic Impact, Outreach, Science on Display, Sustainable | No Comments

June 23, 2017 marks the one-year anniversary of the official sod turning of the Destination Project! So much progress has been made over the past 12 months. The new science and academic building is taking shape and transforming the campus landscape before our eyes.

Watch just how far we’ve come in one year in this time-lapse video of the site with footage taken over the entire time of the build, from the grading work in May 2016 to the structural work you see now. Pretty remarkable.

Long-time supporter continues commitment to University

By | Community, Construction, Economic Impact | No Comments

As the University of Lethbridge celebrates its 50th year, one long-time supporter continues to show strong commitment to the institution.

University Hall being constructed.

PCL Construction Management Ltd. may be a new name on campus to some, but the company is no stranger to the University. The international construction giant is responsible for building the very first building on campus, the iconic University Hall. PCL was the contractor who brought Canadian architect Dr. Arthur Erickson’s (LLD ’81) design to life and it seemed fitting they continue to help shape the campus landscape by building the next frontier for the U of L.

“We’re thrilled to be helping the University of Lethbridge grow and expand with the construction of the new science and academic building,” says PCL senior project manager, Paul Walker. “The Destination Project is a truly unique building, both in design and purpose and given our history with the campus, it’s quite special to be working with the University again.”

Centre for the Arts under construction.

PCL has also thrown its support behind several university fundraising initiatives. Development Director, Barry Knapp says the contribution to the U of L has been remarkable.

“PCL has come on-board as a major sponsor for the annual Calgary dinner, they’ve given support to Pronghorn Athletics and signed on to be a VIP tent host at the Shine On Music Festival event in September,” says Knapp.

PCL’s contribution to the University and surrounding communities was also highlighted during the holidays when PCL staff and contractors adopted local families who were struggling to make ends meet. Students also benefitted from the sizeable donation PCL made to the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union food bank.

“PCL aims to build strong community relationships with the cities where we work and so our ongoing financial support to the University helps us to give back and continue to foster those relationships,” says Walker.

The current construction site of the Destination Project.

As the Destination Project approaches the one-year anniversary of the start of construction, the relationship between the University and PCL clearly continues to prosper.

Science outreach program fosters next generation of STEM professionals!

By | Community, Outreach, Science on Display | No Comments

Science outreach programs like Destination Exploration look forward to benefiting from the improved space and design of the new science and academic building.

Destination Exploration recently collaborated with the City of Lethbridge to expose middle-school aged girls to the wide variety of opportunities available in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields. Here’s look at what they experienced.

 

Stantec says thanks with gift to University of Lethbridge

By | Community, Construction | No Comments

The University of Lethbridge was given a glimpse into the near future recently thanks to Stantec Architecture.

Dr. Mike Mahon with Stantec’s Mark Bellamy, Michael Moxam and Justin Saly with Dr. Andrew Hakin .

University President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon accepted a framed rendering of the new science and academic building from Stantec Architecture on the University’s behalf, along with Vice-Provost and VP Academic, Dr. Andrew Hakin and VP Finance and Administration, Nancy Walker (BMgt ’82). The rendering of the Destination Project will hang in the University’s offices and is an exciting reminder of the world-class facility that is currently under construction on campus.

The future hub of science in southern Alberta has already created buzz near and far with its sustainable design and focus on fostering collaboration between faculties, regardless of discipline. The Destination Project is scheduled to open for classes in the fall of 2019.

Eye-popping donation epitomizes science on display

By | Community, Science on Display | No Comments

In celebration of National Periodic Table day, the University of Lethbridge is pleased to announce a donation of a special kind for the Destination Project. A group of former staff and faculty members and current faculty members has generously donated a periodic table to be displayed in the new science and academic building.

Dr. Peter Dibble, Chair, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, says the addition of a periodic table of the calibre that is being donated will really put science on display for southern Alberta.

The new periodic table will be an interactive focal point of the science and academic building.

“I know of other institutions that have these tables and they are magnets to members of the public because they are so interesting and beautiful to look at,” says Dibble. “I think this display will become a regular stop for elementary and high school classes and I intend to develop programs, such as element days, that will feed into such visits and offer members of the public and students to learn about specific elements, how they are used and why they are so important.”

For retired faculty member, Dr. Douglas Dolman, seeing the progress of the new science and academic building has been quite thrilling. Dolman and his wife Theresa met at the University and both worked for a number of years in the sciences. Dolman says they’re looking forward to seeing how their donation and the new building will inspire the future scientists in the area.

“The new science and academic building will be such a wonderful investment for the future of science in southern Alberta. I hope that by seeing the many extraordinary elements on display in the periodic table, it sparks something special in the young minds of those who visit the building,” says Douglas Dolman.

The periodic table is quite a unique piece of science within itself. Some elements can be made to be interactive and while it’s sized at three meters (10 feet) across and 1.8 meters (6 feet) in height, they make an impressive feature in any science building.

The periodic table contains museum-grade samples of the elements themselves that are individually illuminated in cubes. The elements in the periodic table are shown with examples of how it is used in everyday life as well as some cubes having the ability to be interactive too.

For Dibble, he believes that there is something special in the moment when you first lay your eyes on exactly what an element looks and feels like. Dibble says the feeling ignited by seeing this piece of science is perhaps best summarized by British neurologist, naturalist and author Oliver Sacks.

“In this first, sensuous glance, I saw the table as a gorgeous banquet, a huge table set with eighty-odd different dishes.” (Uncle Tungsten, Oliver Sachs, Alfred A Knopf, Toronto, 2001)

*

The donations to date will go towards the purchase of the periodic table. If you’re interested in supporting this project, please contact University Advancement at 403-329-2582.

Building hope; Destination Project gives big this holiday season

By | Community, Economic Impact | No Comments

Between the holiday parties, gift giving and joy of the season, it can be hard to remember there are people who struggle just to put dinner on the table each night. With food bank supply levels down across the province and demand sky-rocketing, the staff and contractors working on the Destination Project have done their part to ensure those in need will have a full tummy and pantry this Christmas.

PCL Construction Management Ltd.’s field office manager, Anna Slater, led a campaign to collect donations for both the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union (ULSU) food bank and three local families.

“We adopted three local families who needed a little extra help this Christmas along with making a cash and food donation to the ULSU,” says Slater. “We were so overwhelmed with the response that not only U of L Destination Project staff and PCL staff made, but our trade contractors too.”

Just a portion of what was received as donations for the ULSU and the Christmas Hope program.

Just a portion of what was received as donations for the ULSU and the Christmas Hope program.

Working with the local giving initiative, Christmas Hope, which is a program developed between the Interfaith Food Bank, the Lethbridge Food Bank and the Salvation Army, is something that has brought the Destination Project team closer together this holiday season says Project Director, Brian Sullivan.

“I feel so fortunate to have a great job and sadly there are many who aren’t in the same position right now,” says Sullivan. “That’s a sentiment that is clearly shared on this project as our trades, contractors and staff gave so generously. It’s a wonderful way to come together as group and give back to the community and U of L students.”

Interfaith Food Bank executive director, Danielle McIntyre says it’s the efforts of people like those on the Destination Project who are giving a little joy to those in need this holiday season.

“We love it when local businesses and organizations step-up because it inspires not only their employees, but their customers and general community too,” says McIntyre. “Local businesses do so much to bring in resources for us, especially this time of year.”

As for the bounty that was delivered to the ULSU, Students’ Union president, Cameron Howey, was blown away by the showing of generosity.

Donations came from U of L Destination Project staff, PCL Construction Ltd. staff and trades working on the new science and academic building.

Donations came from U of L Destination Project staff, PCL Construction Ltd. staff and trades working on the new science and academic building.

“What an amazing contribution to helping students in need,” says Howey. “This donation shows that the people involved with the Destination Project are not only invested in the building, but also invested in bettering the student experience. On behalf of University of Lethbridge students, thank you. You’ve made this holiday season that much brighter for those in need.”

BMO donates $1 million to fund construction of new state-of-the-art science building

By | Community, Construction, Economic Impact | No Comments

The University of Lethbridge (U of L) today announced that BMO Financial Group has joined the University’s Destination Project through a $1 million philanthropic donation for construction of a new Science and Academic Building at its Lethbridge campus.

The Destination Project is the boldest and most significant development for the University since the construction of the original University Hall. The new facilities will bring together faculty and students from across science disciplines, promote and enable curricular innovation, help students achieve their academic goals and foster a community of science at the U of L and across southern Alberta.

The new Academic and Science Building’s showcase theatre will carry a BMO Financial name.

The new Academic and Science Building’s showcase theatre will carry a BMO Financial name.

The theatre, which will carry the name of BMO Financial Group, will serve as a key space for housing science outreach activities.

“We are very appreciative of BMO Financial Group for joining us in the creation of this transformational project and helping us shape the future of the University of Lethbridge,” says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon. “Our relationship with BMO encompasses a number of initiatives and this gift extends their history of supporting both the University and the southern Alberta community.”

“We are very pleased to partner with U of L on the Destination Project, one that will undoubtedly enhance the University and experience of students in the community for years to come,” says Susan Brown, Senior Vice-President, Alberta and North West Territories Division, BMO Bank of Montreal. “We have a longstanding relationship with the school and remain committed to investing in programs that will help the advancement of future leaders in the field of science.”

Knowledge sharing is a key component of the Destination Project, between professors and students as well as to the broader southern Alberta community. The BMO Financial Group sponsored theatre will serve as a key space for housing science outreach activities.

“The Destination Project is designed to engage the community. Science shouldn’t exist behind closed doors,” says Dr. Ute Kothe, supervisor of the University’s Let’s Talk science program and a researcher in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “It’s our obligation to enable a hands-on approach to learning that will ignite a greater curiosity for science in adults and children.”

img_0987

U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon (Right) pictured with BMO Financial Group representatives including Susan Brown, Senior Vice-President, Alberta and North West Territories Division (Left).

In under 50 years, the U of L has evolved from an idea to one of Canada’s top-ranked universities and leading research institutions. Building on these past accomplishments, the Destination Project is the next step forward – helping shape the future of science and teaching for the next 50 years.

“These facilities will give us the research capacity for the future of this institution,” says Dr. Craig Cooper, Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science. “We are thrilled that BMO Financial Group has recognized the potential of this development and what it will mean to the University, our region, province and country for years to come.”

A tale of two cranes

By | Construction | No Comments

After a few months of doing all of the heavy lifting, Big Yeller, the tower crane onsite at the Destination Project, has received a helping hand, or jib, to be more accurate.

Little Yeller, the second tower crane, is now assembled and working away to ensure that every inch of the new science and academic building site is able to be reached. Standing slightly shorter than his larger compatriot, Little Yeller stands at around 165 feet and has almost the same lifting capacity.

Together, these two enormous pieces of machinery are pushing forward the progress on the Destination Project but they don’t do it alone. Someone has to push the buttons and pull the levers, a position Kerry Swift has been sitting high above ground in for more than 25 years.

“It takes around 10 to 15 minutes to climb up to the cabin. Going up around 200 feet gets your heart going in the morning that’s for sure,” says Swift. “The trick in the winter is not get too much of a sweat worked up because as soon as you get inside the cabin, the whole thing fogs up and then you’ve got to wait before you can get working.”

For people that work on the ground, the idea of having your office way up in the sky can seem kind of thrilling or terrifying depending on your comfort level with heights. But for Swift, it’s just the everyday humdrum of his career.

“Getting to be up so high and see out over the landscape was a real adrenaline rush when I first started, but now it’s just where my desk is,” Swift laughed.

You can see Swift and Big Yeller working on the construction site by viewing the live view cameras on the Destination Project’s website.

 

Boots on the ground; Destination Project powers ahead

By | Construction | No Comments

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 destinationproject.ca.