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College Building re-opens for new generations of learners

News Release Release Date: October 5, 2018 10:30 a.m.

Today the University of Regina officially opened the renovated College Building at the College Avenue campus. Dr. Vianne Timmons, University of Regina President and Vice-Chancellor, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, the Honourable Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister of Advanced Education, and Regina’s Mayor, His Worship Michael Fougere were on hand for the announcement.

“This is a wonderful day for the University of Regina,” says Timmons. “The beautiful, historic College Building is a legacy that was left for us by forward-thinking members of our community more than a century ago.  Revitalizing it over the past few years to make it a modern, accessible place of learning in the heart of Regina was once again a community endeavour, and we owe a great debt of thanks to the many dedicated individuals and organizations who provided the necessary support.”

Located on the University of Regina’s College Avenue campus, the College Building is home to the University’s Centre for Continuing Education, including the Lifelong Learning Centre and the Conservatory of Performing Arts. It is also home to the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, one of Canada’s leading policy schools and home to the Centre for the Study of Science Innovation and Policy. Each year, more than 8,000 learners study on the College Avenue campus. The campus also hosts dozens of community and cultural events every year.

The College Avenue Campus Renewal Project, announced in 2011, is the University’s priority capital project. It includes two construction phases (phase one: renewal of the College Building and phase two: restoration of Darke Hall). The entire project is aimed at restoring and preserving the historic buildings at the College Avenue campus, ensuring that it continues to be an economic, educational, and cultural hub for the city of Regina.

Funding for the $63.6 million restoration of the College Building included a $28.7 million contribution from the Government of Canada’s Strategic Investment Fund (SIF); a donation of 2.6 acres of land from the City of Regina, and approximately $25 million in private and in-kind donations to the College Avenue Campus Renewal Project, including a unique $8.25 million partnership with Conexus Credit Union.

“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. This means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and start-up companies into global successes,” says the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

“I'm proud to see a major federal program like the Strategic Investment Fund supporting the revitalization of the U of R's College Avenue campus. State of the art construction techniques are preserving a heritage building and transforming it into innovative space for the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy‎, continuing education for adults and the new Centre for the Study of Science and Innovation Policy - all in all a very valuable investment," says the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

The College Building, constructed in 1911-12, and the West Tower and Conservatory, constructed in 1914-16, closed in September 2016 to allow for the extensive renovations. The restoration of the College Building has preserved numerous heritage elements while improving safety, accessibility, and sustainability. These improvements enhance Wascana Centre and ensure educational, artistic, and cultural benefits will be enjoyed by the community for generations to come. Programming resumed at the College Building at the start of the fall 2018 semester.

“The College Building represents our city’s past and our future by preserving irreplaceable heritage elements and establishing accessibility and efficiency improvements that make the building open to all,” says Mayor Michael Fougere. “Our on-going attempts to grow and revitalize the downtown and surrounding areas will benefit greatly from keeping the Lifelong Learning and Continuing Education services offered in the centre of our city.”

Background

Preserving the heritage buildings:  
The College Avenue Campus heritage buildings are early and exceptional examples of Collegiate Gothic architecture. The new design preserves and enhances existing heritage architecture and includes:

•    New entrance steps at the College Building that are to code and match original heritage steps;
•    An open/glass entry at the College Building main entrance that reintroduces the original plan for a port- cochère, or covered carriage entrance;
•    Heritage hallways refurbished as close to original as possible with open ceilings, hanging lights, wood trim, original doors, and slate and quarry tile flooring;
•    Heritage staircases (previously enclosed) opened up and refurbished to code;
•    Office suites that are open and modern, with a focus on heritage windows; ceilings designed to preserve the height of windows and high glass walls to allow light into interior offices; and,  
•    A significant amount of reused or refurbished material. Here are some highlights:

    • The College Building, Tower, and four-storey Conservatory façade were reused. A temporary structure was built to support the four-storey Conservatory façade prior to cutting it free from the original building. Once the rest of the Conservatory was removed, the building was excavated underneath the original footing and underpinned. The original brick foundation wall was then encased in concrete. Once the new building was in place the façade was tied to it and the temporary structure was removed.
    • 16,000 bricks salvaged from the Conservatory Building were reused, primarily on the west side of the Tower.
    • All the College Building and Tower existing brick was repointed (i.e., mortar removed and replaced), cleaned and repaired including all sides of the Tower and all sides of the College Building (including brick that now resides inside the atrium).
    • All College Building exterior steel windows, including hardware and hinges, are reused.  Interior and exterior windows are repaired or refurbished including interior wood sashes and new double-pane glass for energy conservation. Previously covered windows in old recital hall are rebuilt to repair damage from moisture, heat and sand blasting of exterior glass. New windows are built where openings had been repurposed over time.
    • Stones were cleaned and repaired, replaced or installed in many areas, including the Tower interior.
    • The date stone was salvaged as were three stone window surrounds, seen on the new Conservatory west façade along with a new buttress to match existing one.
    • The Conservatory door archway is reused.
    • Significant amounts of original College Building wood doors, trim, and transoms were refurbished and reused.

Providing a modern space for the next generation of learners:
Providing a modern, accessible place of learning was a priority. The new atrium provides street level access to the College Building and its additions and elevator access to the lower, main, second and third floor. On the 4th and 5th floors in the Tower, where limited space and heritage preservation made an elevator unfeasible, the previous small stairway has been replaced with code-compliant stairs.

The new structure on the east side of the building improves safety, access, and service to the College Building with the addition of fire exit stairs, washrooms, and space for mechanical and electrical utilities. Upgraded systems allow for increased energy efficiency, including:

•    The College Building HVAC system, which is similar to the systems in LEED Gold and Silver Facilities in Saskatchewan;
•    European heating technologies that are ultra-high efficient;
•    High efficiency heat recovery used in air handlers to reclaim energy from the exhaust air and pre-condition the ventilation air;
•    A cooling system that uses a magnetic bearing chiller to provide exceptional full load and part load efficiencies; and,
•    Units that provide proper building pressure control to protect the heritage envelope.

Classrooms are fitted with technology; the new, modern features serve to enhance teaching and learning.

About The University of Regina
The University of Regina—with campuses located on Treaty 4 and Treaty 6 territories, the ancestral lands of the Cree, Saulteaux, Dakota, Lakota and Nakoda nations and the homeland of the Métis—is a comprehensive, mid-sized university that traces its roots back to the creation of Regina College in 1911. Today, more than 15,000 students study within the University's 10 faculties, 25 academic departments/schools, 18 research centres and institutes, and three federated colleges (Campion College, First Nations University of Canada, and Luther College). The University of Regina has an established reputation for excellence and innovative programs that lead to undergraduate, master, and doctoral degrees. In 2017, the University of Regina was ranked in the Top 200 Best Young Universities in the world by Times Higher Education.


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