The University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is set to undergo major renovations on five buildings on-campus after the provincial government approved an $85-million bond.
Work is slated to begin later this year on the Thorvaldson Building, the W.P. Thompson Building, the arts building, physics building and the university library. None of the selected structures have received significant renovations in over 40 years.
The work will range from minor renovations in certain areas to a more comprehensive renovation and overhaul in the W.P Thompson. The hope is the changes will provide better, more state-of-the-art facilities for researching purposes.
“Essentially we’re taking the existing space in there and reforming it to allow for new opportunities in teaching, allowing and research,” Rea Carlson, a planner at the U of S said. “For the physics building for instance, we’re looking for selective renewal based on the heritage aspect this one carries with it.”
The renovations are also expected to address what the university is calling a deferred maintenance issue for older infrastructure
“You start having issues with your mechanical system, your electrical system, and it gets to the point where they’re so critical that there is potential for failure, which could result in a building closure,” Carlson said. “So we want to ensure that we’re addressing these issues before we get to the point where a catastrophic failure would occur.”
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Some renovations will be sequenced together and underway at the same time in multiple buildings on campus, but a broad communication plan is in the works to ensure less of a disturbance to the student population.
“We’re trying to minimize the disruption as much as we possibly can,” Carlson said.
The original request from the U of S was for $90 million, $5 million less than the government allowed them to borrow. But, Carlson doesn’t see that as a hindrance to the overall project.
“We’ve adjusted our scope for each project to reflect that overall $85-million,” Carlson said. “We feel we’ll be able to achieve what we ultimately hope to achieve.”
The renovations are expected to take between four and five years to complete.