Fall tour of the Science & Academic Building

By | Community, Construction, Sustainable

There’s been lots of work completed and progress made on the new Science and Academic Building since we last toured the site in the summer. Now more than 50 per cent completed, the project is really starting to take shape. You may have noticed the glass exterior being installed in the link between University Hall and the new building or the pedestrian bridge being placed, but did you know the last structural concrete pour has been completed? Here are a few fun facts about some of the materials and quantities used to date on site:

  • poured 23,820 m3 of concrete
  • 3.94 miles of electrical cords on site
  • 66.2 miles length of lumber used
  • 3,400 shoring posts
  • 343,400 screws used

Join University of Lethbridge Project Manager, Gene Lublinkhof and PCL Construction Management Ltd. Senior Superintendent, Daryl Campbell, as they tour the site and highlight some of the spaces and progress completed to date.

A look back through campus history

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Bob Baunton is a structural engineer who helped to shape the University of Lethbridge campus in Lethbridge. Bob was involved in almost all major building developments from University Hall to the Max Bell Aquatic Centre. Bob was recently back on campus to tour the new science and academic building and took a few moments to chat with University Archivist, Mike Perry, about his time working on campus and working with Arthur Erickson.

Take a look inside the Destination Project

By | Community, Construction, Science on Display, Sustainable | No Comments

Take a sneak-peek inside the new science and academic building construction site! Gene Lublinkhof, Project Manager at the U of L, introduces us to two areas of importance in the building with PCL Construction Management senior superintendent, Daryl Campbell. In this video, you’ll see the construction to-date on the link between University Hall and the new science and academic building, along with the pedestrian bridge area between the main floor of the building and upper campus.

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

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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.

Stantec says thanks with gift to University of Lethbridge

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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.

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

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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.”


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

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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

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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