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University announces proposed new partnership to renew College Avenue Campus

Posted: June 8, 2016 2:00 p.m.

(l-r) Lynn Fiorante, mother of two Conservatory of Performing Arts students; Eric Dillon, CEO of the Conexus Credit Union; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Harvey King, Director, Centre for Continuing Education.
(l-r) Lynn Fiorante, mother of two Conservatory of Performing Arts students; Eric Dillon, CEO of the Conexus Credit Union; Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor; Dr. Harvey King, Director, Centre for Continuing Education. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography

The University announced a proposed new partnership today with Conexus Credit Union that may contribute up to $8.25 million to the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project as well as result in millions of dollars in cost avoidance for revitalizing the University’s historic campus.

“I’m very excited by the proposal submitted by Conexus Credit Union,” said University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Vianne Timmons. “As a member-based cooperative, Conexus has deep roots in Saskatchewan and is a natural partner for the University of Regina. Conexus shares our community values and understands the historic, educational and cultural importance of saving College Avenue Campus.”

The Conexus proposal would centralize several of Conexus’ offices in Regina at a site adjacent to College Avenue Campus immediately west of Darke Hall, leveraging the close physical proximity to create synergies between the two projects and help minimize costs.

The proposal also includes a joint atrium with Darke Hall, accessibility improvements to the facility, a space for a business incubator site that would help drive small business growth, and other potential amenities for the public.

CAC

The historic College Avenue Campus is located near downtown Regina. The Centre for Continuing Education, Conservatory of Performing Arts and Darke Hall are located at the Campus. (U of R Photography)

“Our proposal would bring key Conexus staff together at one location to increase efficiency and foster the kind of collaboration that cultivates growth for our members,” said Eric Dillon, Chief Executive Officer, Conexus Credit Union. “Partnering with the University to help renew College Avenue Campus enables us to serve the needs of our members while also fulfilling their expectation that we continue our tradition of giving back to the community.”

The proposed partnership is the result of an open public request for proposals issued in January 2016. That process included a commitment to hold public consultations on the results. To that end, two open forums will be held:

•    June 16, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Education Auditorium, Education Bldg., University of Regina main campus;
•    June 23, 2016 from 7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m. at Education Auditorium, Education Bldg., University of Regina main campus.

The University will also be accepting input by email at UR.Giving@uregina.ca.  

The consultations follow those held in 2015 to inform the University’s new Campus Master Plan, which lays out the principles for responsible future development of the University.

The Campus Master Plan was approved by the University’s Board of Governors as well as Wascana Centre Authority (WCA), and is consistent with the WCA’s Master Plan, which also underwent public consultations in 2015.

The proposed development is on City of Regina property immediately west of Darke Hall and east of Wascana Drive. The consultations will be used to gather feedback to inform further discussions with the City about donating the land in support of College Avenue Campus Renewal.

For additional information about the proposal, the consultations and the College Avenue Campus Renewal project, visit www.uregina.ca/giving.

Highlights of the Proposal from Conexus

Conexus is Saskatchewan's largest credit union with $7.14 billion in total funds managed, over 120,000 members, more than 900 employees, and 41 branches across Saskatchewan. As a member-based cooperative, Conexus values social responsibility, returning $1.47 million to communities last year through contributions to various projects.

The proposal by Conexus includes:
•    Centralizing 200 Conexus employees currently located at six different locations across Regina at a new building immediately adjacent to the west of Darke Hall;
•    Supporting restoration of existing heritage buildings by seamlessly integrating new construction with existing heritage spaces to develop a facility compatible with the surrounding area, buildings and landscape;
•    Breathing new life into Darke Hall with an atrium and promenade that can act as a lobby or reception area and provide additional space for special events;
•    Improving accessibility to Darke Hall by providing accessible entrances through the proposed atrium, helping the facility meet all current accessibility standards;
•    Helping integrate state-of-the-art IT connectivity that supports the University’s intent to modernize the historic campus for contemporary functional use; and
•    Providing space and support for a business incubator, making staff available as mentors or guest lecturers, and offering Conexus as a working lab for student research.