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Economic Impact

One year of construction

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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.

Building hope; Destination Project gives big this holiday season

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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

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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.”

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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.”

Destination Project packs economic punch

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As construction on the Destination Project continues to grow, so too are the dollars in the hands of local families and businesses. When PCL Construction Management Ltd. was awarded the contract to build the future science and academic building, many of PCL’s employees packed their bags and relocated to southern Alberta from their offices in Calgary and beyond. It’s a move that Tim Demler, superindendent for PCL Builders Inc., says has been nothing but incredibly refreshing.

“My wife and I have rented a local property and set ourselves up in a great spot on the south side of Lethbridge. There is a heavy sense of community, courtesy and strong work ethic throughout the city,” says Demler.

Community mindedness doesn’t stop there in Demler’s experience. PCL has also taken advantage of the expertise and inventory of local trades and suppliers.

“We have made a real effort to use local equipment, fuel and material suppliers at every turn,” says Demler. “This not only provides benefit to the project in time and cost, but it showcases the expertise of the construction and equipment specialists in this area. I can easily say that it has been a breath of fresh air to deal with all of our suppliers here.”

Another way the Destination Project has been boosting the southern Albertan economy is by satisfying the hunger of those working on the construction site. The Enmax Centre has recently opened an onsite cafeteria for the approximately 400 workers who are expected to be onsite by fall. City of Lethbridge food and beverage manager, Tania McMahon, says the project has allowed the city to pursue a new stream of revenue.

“Not only does this project provide local jobs and revenue for Lethbridge, but it allows workers to stay on site take advantage of healthier meal options,” says McMahon. “There have also been three full-time jobs and two part-time positions created, and as the project grows and the amount of contractors on site increases, food service positions will also increase.”

With grading on the site now complete, the structural work will start to take shape in the coming weeks. The change in the campus landscape is sure to generate an energy amongst those returning to the University as the fall semester approaches. Find out more about the Destination Project by clicking over to destinationproject.ca.