The Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy held its groundbreaking ceremony this Mon., Sept. 11. The shindig was attended by staff, students and media, yet questions still persist about the building design and funding.
"We are in the design phase right now and that's a huge job in itself," said ISEEE managing director Dr. Robert Mansell. "We have not released a completion date as of yet. We're expecting to be finished for 2009. We don't want to create expectations that we can't fulfill."
Mansell explained they've calculated how many classrooms, labs and offices they'll need and have just hired a project manager.
The architects have only this information and the site area, allowing them to be as creative as possible while meeting Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) platinum standards, the highest level of green and efficient sustainable energy design.
"We've seen some existing sketches that are pretty interesting," said Mansell. "We know that the largest portion of the building will be for research space, next classrooms and it will be situated around a central hub."
The budget calls for $283 million in building costs plus an additional $40 million for the Experiential Learning Centre.
"Not one cent out of the building costs has been provided," said ISEEE communications director, Mark Lowey. "But we are optimistic because the government has given us the funding for the 1,000 energy and environment students. Why would they give us the money for the students without some place to put them?"
The provincial government has provided $40 million to add the 650 undergraduate students and 350 graduate student spaces, explained Lowey.
"Our first priority is accommodating the ISEEE access program which includes roughly 1,000 students spread out across a number of programs including engineering, Haskayne School of Business and social sciences," said Mansell.
The inter-faculty building will house classrooms, but the greatest amount of space has been allocated to areas for research and collaborative industry-community programs.
"Because we are a research university, all departments will have a large research component," explained Mansell.
According to Mansell, the inter-faculty building will be roughly the size of the Children's Hospital and will be located in front of ICT on 32nd Ave NW, which is currently a parking lot.
"We desperately need this building and we desperately need the space," said Mansell.