Campus Life

Southern Alberta economy gets jolt from U of L construction

In parts of Asia, the crane represents good fortune and longevity. The same could be said for the pair of 165-foot tall mechanical cranes that grace the coulee horizon. For the University of Lethbridge, the cranes symbolize a hefty infusion for the local economy.

About $14.8 million of the $27.5 million construction cost for the Aperture Park Phase 3 residence project is going directly to southern Alberta companies, says Brian Sullivan, director of the Project Management Office (PMO) in facilities.

He adds that the economic spinoffs from the housing project are significant.

"There are at least a dozen major local contractors working here; from all the surveying to the mechanical, electrical, drywall and excavation work."

The many campus construction activities this summer have created a mini boom in the southern Alberta industry.

There are also numerous out-of-town workers temporarily living in the city that further augment the local economy. Sullivan says that most contractors look to hire local workers if there are enough skilled laborers available.

"Whenever out-of-town contractors can, they hire locally, but they're probably mostly from Calgary and area."

Meanwhile, the construction activity at the U of L marks our campus as the busiest building site south of Calgary.

"The University, in terms of major construction, is leading the way by quite a bit. This summer alone we're involved in about $30 million worth of construction," says Sullivan. "That figure pro-rates the housing job, and all the projects that are going on right now. We're actually creating a sort of mini construction boom right on this campus."

Another noteworthy aspect of campus construction is the sustainable construction practices being employed, such as metal recycling.

"We require the recycling of waste products – the separation of recyclable materials and construction waste. Not all of it goes to the landfill, a big chunk of it goes to recycling," says Sullivan.

The 259-bed Aperture Park Phase 3 housing development is on schedule to open in the spring of 2013.

This story first appeared in the June 2012 issue of the Legend. For a look at the entire issue in flipbook format, follow this link.