University of Lethbridge Board of Governors approves location of new science and academic building

The location for a new science and academic building gained Board approval Thursday – a key milestone in the planning process for the University of Lethbridge’s Destination Project.

The site for the facility is critical for the success of the entire Destination Project.

After a comprehensive procedure that considered geotechnical suitability, pedestrian movement and access, integration with the current campus, environmental integration and sightlines, parking and roadway accessibility, as well as internal and external stakeholder input, the U of L Board of Governors gave its approval to the site of the new facility.

The site runs parallel to the southern edge of Valley Road and extends east to University Hall.

University of Lethbridge Board Chair, Gord Jong, says the location of the new science and academic building is critical for the success of the entire Destination Project.

“This process needed to consider the student experience, the needs of our faculty and staff as well as create greater access for the external community,” says Jong. “I am confident this site will allow this building to be an integral part of the U of L’s academic core.”

U of L Provost and Vice-President (Academic), and Chair of the Destination Project Steering Committee, Dr. Andy Hakin, says he was impressed with the level of engagement that internal and external community members had in regard to the site selection for the new science building.

“The input we received from our students, staff and faculty, as well as external individuals, was vital in determining this location. I am also grateful to the members of the technical and steering committees for their work in moving the site-selection document forward. On behalf of the University, I would like to thank all those who contributed for their valuable input.”

Hakin adds that now that a location has been established, more focused planning for the building will begin.

“The conclusion of the site selection process will move planning onto the next phases, including a look at building massing, site layout and all design considerations,” says Hakin.

In addition to the construction of new science facilities, the Destination Project includes a revitalization of the iconic University Hall as well as a new energy centre. The project will help enable the University’s strategic plan and continued future growth.

The Destination Project Steering Committee is currently evaluating proposals from eight short-listed design teams for the complete design of the science and academic build and energy centre.

In December 2013, the Government of Alberta announced a $200 million commitment to the Destination Project. Previously, the Province invested $12.5 million towards the planning of the project.