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Province pledges funding for MacKimmie Complex redevelopment

By Scott Strasser, May 2 2016 — 

The University of Calgary will receive $17.2 million over two years from the provincial government for a redevelopment plan of the MacKimmie complex and the Professional Faculties building, Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt announced April 29.

The funding will be used to review the use of space in the buildings and upgrade the MacKimmie Complex to meet Calgary’s building codes.

“The funding will allow us to do further planning and design so that we are ready to secure contractor bids for construction,” said U of C vice-president facilities Bart Becker. “This helps us advance the project so we are construction-ready when funding becomes available.”

Funding for the MacKimmie Complex’s redevelopment has been long-awaited by the university. The complex has faced issues since the Taylor Family Digital Library replaced it as the U of C’s main library in 2011.

The Tower’s top seven floors have been barred from public entry since 2013 due to building code concerns, and the roof leaks due to problems with the building envelope.

Costs to fully restore the MacKimmie Complex in 2013 were estimated at around $100-million. Despite working on redesigns since 2009, the U of C has lacked funding to cover full renovation costs.

“Funding could come from a number of sources, including government, partnerships or philanthropy. What’s important is that the further along the design is advanced, the greater the opportunity is to leverage those funding opportunities,” Becker said.

Becker said the long-term plan is to use the lower floors of the MacKimmie Tower for student services and the faculty of Social Work, while the top floors would house administrative offices.

According to to the university, repurposing the buildings instead of demolishing them could save up to $85 million.

The MacKimmie Complex is one of the oldest buildings on campus, with the lower block originally constructed in 1963. The Tower was built nine years later, in 1972. The MacKimmie Block currently houses enrolment services and the student awards office.

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