$149M upgrade to University of Alberta Dentistry/Pharmacy Building

The University of Alberta's Dentistry/Pharmacy building.

New details were released Wednesday on a multi-year renovation slated for a 96-year-old building on the main University of Alberta campus.

In the budget tabled last week, the province designated $149 million over four years to restore the University of Alberta’s Dentistry/Pharmacy building, which has been deemed a provincial heritage site.

READ MORE: Alberta Budget 2017: What’s in it for Edmonton? 

The renovated building will serve as the university’s new administrative hub. The Office of the Registrar will be relocated there from its current home in the Administration Building.

“What we’ll be doing is re-purposing this building to bring our student services in, dean of students, our registrars office, to really provide a one-stop shop for our undergraduate students,” University of Alberta president David Turpin said.

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There will be interior and exterior renovations and modernizations to make the building more energy efficient, Turpin said.

The province said the restoration will increase student service space to 17,800 square metres and free up room across campus that will be repurposed for student learning areas.

“I thank the government of Alberta for this timely and important investment in one of the University of Alberta’s oldest, most iconic buildings,” Turpin said.

“The Dentistry/Pharmacy Building has supported students and learning outcomes for nearly a century and its restoration will continue to uphold excellence in education for generations to come.”

The building was built in 1921, thanks to a $500,000 grant ($6.2 million in 2017 dollars) from the U.S.-based Rockefeller Foundation, a private foundation created by the powerful oil baron Rockefeller family. The “Dent/Pharm” building was the first on campus to have auditoriums, and was the original home of the Faculty of Medicine.

The four-year project will also create construction jobs. The province said it would create an “estimated 18,750 worker-days of employment for the regional economy.”

The province said restoration of the Dentistry/Pharmacy Building will remove $78 million in deferred maintenance for the building. The project has been in the works since 2012, when the province gave the U of A $3.5 million to begin planning and design work.


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