City of Regina donates land to the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project

Posted: August 30, 2016 10:15 a.m.

Work to renew the buildings at College Avenue will begin in September.
Work to renew the buildings at College Avenue will begin in September. Photo: U of R Photography

On August 29, City Council approved the donation of 2.6 acres of land to the College Avenue Campus (CAC) Renewal Project, enabling the University to proceed with a partnership with Conexus Credit Union. The proposed partnership with Conexus will contribute up to $8.25 million directly to the CAC Renewal Project and result in millions of dollars in cost avoidance during the revitalization of our historic downtown campus.

The funding from Conexus will also enable the University to fully match the $27.6 million in funding for CAC Renewal Project announced by the federal government on August 19.

“These recent developments make a renewed College Avenue Campus a reality,” says Dr. Vianne Timmons, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Regina. “We’re extremely grateful for the support of so many individuals and organizations, and we are pleased to work with our partners to move this project forward. It’s a project that will have an impact on the historic campus for years to come. By ensuring that the architecturally and culturally significant buildings on College Avenue are revitalized, we will have a vibrant centre of learning, research and community collaboration that is preserved and enhanced for future citizens of Regina.”

In addition to the financial contribution, the Conexus proposal includes:

•    Centralizing 200 Conexus employees currently located at six different locations across Regina at a new building 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.

“The timelines are short, but we are confident in the planning we have done,” says Timmons. “We have already begun the process of moving faculty, staff and programs to various other venues so that we can continue to offer programming throughout the construction process.”

The University conducted public consultations on the proposed partnership with Conexus in June. These forums were advertised in the Leader-Post and included two open public forums, a series of targeted consultations with business groups, heritage groups and many others, as well as solicitation of electronic feedback from approximately 25,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public.

The land proposed for the Conexus building was approved for future development in the Wascana Centre Master Plan and the University Master Plan released in May 2016. The joint process used for developing both these plans included three public meetings in 2015 and opportunities for input through an online survey.

Physical work on the structures will begin in September. For more information on the Renewal Project, visit: http://www.uregina.ca/external/donor-relations/priorities1/cac.html

Related Story:

University announces proposed new partnership to renew College Avenue Campus