Conexus unveils plans for Wascana Park building

A rendering of the Conexus building's north entrance west of Darke Hall. Contributed / Conexus

Conexus has unveiled the design of its controversial new headquarters in Regina.

The 80,000 square foot building will be attached to the University of Regina’s historic Darke Hall.

A concept image showing the completed Darke Hall link. Contributed / Conexus

The project includes realigning College Avenue and Wascana Drive as well as relocating or replacing any affected trees.

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Conexus CEO Eric Dillon says the building will be fully solar equipped, with a focus on public space.

A conceptual view of the south entrance and plaza. Contributed / Conexus
“A cafe, public washrooms, [water] refilling stations, bike racks, an enhanced path,” Dillon said. “We think those are things our community will love once the development is done.”

When construction is complete Darke Hall will accessible through a shared atrium with an expanded lobby.

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The University of Regina will receive about $10 million worth of shared infrastructure upgrades, like heating/cooling systems as a result, along with an $8.2 million donation from Conexus.

“I did not want to see those buildings torn down, and that was my choice,” U of R president and vice-chancellor Vianne Timmons said. “This project literally saved College Avenue campus and Darke Hall- and that’s important because it’s 8,000 students it serves.”

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Members of No Business in the Park  gathered at Evraz Place during the announcement as past of continued protests against the development.

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In 2016 the university put three parcels of land along College Avenue up for grabs in a request for a development partner. The legal transfer of the land occurred in July, though the university will still own the land. When the lease expires, the building will be turned over to the university.

Timmons says she’s excited to see Darke Hall returned to it’s former glory, rather than its current deteriorated state. In recent years, the Hall was used only rarely for special events. She hopes to see an artist with a local connection headline the first show after it reopens.

The new Conexus building and Darke Hall are tentatively scheduled to open in early 2020.

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