Downtown campus official

By Ivan Danielewicz

On October 8, 2004, Calgary Mayor Dave Bronconnier made a speech to the Building Owners and Managers Associations that publicly included the University of Calgary’s downtown campus as part of Calgary’s future. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that there were mouths watering in U of C’s administration that night.

It has been a well-known fact that the U of C has had plans to move into the downtown core for some time now. With the commitment by the City of Calgary to rejuvenate the eastern downtown section, the U of C can consider itself one step closer to seeing the development of another campus on the spine of 4 St. s.E.

“It was very positive,” stated Brian Sinclair, the Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Design. “It confirmed publicly what we had been working towards for many months.”

Since the Faculty of Environmental Design is part of BOMA, several members of the EVDS staff were on hand, along with Roman Cooney, the Vice-President External for the U of C, and several students from EVDS.

“The downtown campus is the next step, after the completion of the digital library,” confirmed Cooney. “The university is going to be expanding and this has laid down the ground work.”

The new campus in the downtown core will coincide with the campus space that holds the EVDS on 134-11 Ave SE. This campus is over 4,400 sq. ft. Sinclair believes that the EVDS will be an essential part of the development of the downtown campus.

“EVDS will be playing a lead role as one of Alberta’s lead design schools,” said Sinclair. “We have two student teams working on a conceptual design for the urban campus. This project will also be interesting to us to learn what students have learned.”

Despite this recent backing by the city, the plans for the development of the downtown campus are still a few years off. In 2005, the U of C will hold a two stage international design competition to find potential designs for the downtown campus. The first stage will revolve solely around ideas, whereas the second stage will use qualified teams to assess sustainability of the design.

A critical part of the development of the downtown campus will revolve around the coexistence among the various campuses that the university has around Calgary.

“Sustainability is important and transportation is important,” explained Sinclair. “The downtown campus will be in no way the main campus in miniature, it will be complimentary. Any given faculty could have uses that would be most appropriately situated in downtown.”

Roman Cooney agrees with this assessment of the downtown campus.

“We will be asking ‘What is most appropriate in the way of programs to offer in the downtown campus?’” gave Cooney. “We need to ask how this will benefit the students.”

Instead of using the downtown campus to house faculties, the university will most likely use it to house programs. This would mean that students would need to find a way down there. Fortunately, the C-Train will run relatively close to the downtown campus location.

“Programs like Social Work and EVDS will have the opportunity to work downtown with future employers,” added Cooney. “Other programs like Law, Communication and Culture, and Continuing Education may also find some programs being offered downtown.”

The future of the downtown campus is one that university students should be excited to see into its fruition. However, the plans for this campus are a ways off and the actual development of this site will likely be a while after that. Still, Calgary and the U of C will both benefit from the development of a downtown campus and value that a campus would contribute to the downtown community.


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