February 13, 2019 5:38 pm
Updated: February 13, 2019 7:19 pm

University of Lethbridge receives keys to new science and academic building

WATCH ABOVE: The University of Lethbridge's new $280 million science and academic building will be open to students this fall and the Alberta government is now promising support that goes beyond its construction. Tom Roulston has the details.

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The University of Lethbridge now holds the keys to its new $280 million science and academic building, the cornerstone of its Destination Project.

The building is scheduled to open for classes in September 2019 and will be accessible to more than 9,000 students, while serving many of the campus’ science departments.

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“This has been a six-year planning, design and construction event and we’re pretty excited to see it finally coming together in three dimensions,” said Destination Project program director Brian Sullivan on Wednesday.

READ MORE: University of Lethbridge’s newest building nearly complete

WATCH: The University of Lethbridge’s $280-million Science and Academic Building is about 75 per cent complete. The building is Phase One of the Destination Project and will almost entirely house five of the university’s programs. Kyle Benning went on a tour to get a first look at what benefits students will have at their fingertips come September 2019. (Aired May, 6, 2018)

The university says the building will be 53 per cent more sustainable than the average science building in Canada, housing state-of-the-art lab facilities and lecture halls.

“Acoustics was a big factor, vibration for science facilities was another big factor, air quality and of course lots of natural light,” Sullivan said.

The university says there is about $2 million worth of work left to complete.

Science labs will begin to move in to their new spaces in April, a process that’s expected to take a few months.

The entire move, including faculty and staff is expected to be completed by July.

READ MORE: BMO donates $1M to University of Lethbridge Destination Project

Provincial dignitaries were on hand Wednesday to tour the new learning spaces.

In its most recent budget, Alberta’s NDP government committed $27 million towards construction costs, and it’s now promising to support the university beyond the finished product.

“There will be lights-on funding for this facility in the amount of $1 million,” said Shannon Phillips, the MLA for Lethbridge-West.

“In addition to that, our Campus Alberta grants grow the commitment from this province, from this government, is a two per cent increase per year so institutions can fully manage their growth pressures over time,” Phillips said.

“We’re pleased that the government has made an initial commitment to that lights-on funding,” said University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon.

“We’ll continue to work with government in the years to come to ensure that funding is something that continues in the future.”

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