The University of Lethbridge has declared a new science facility as its highest capital priority. But the project isn’t a new concept; the idea of dedicating space to the University’s growing research needs has been around for years.
University Hall was never intended to accommodate a large scientific community and while U of L’s programs and class sizes grew its science facilities did not.
Expansion of University Hall was handled with short-term solutions but the lack of an overall plan created numerous functional, educational and safety issues. As a result, current labs are outdated and overwhelmed by present day demands. Discussion on the development of research facilities has revolved around whether to renovate the current space in University Hall or to build a brand new facility.
Studies have concluded that converting the existing facilities would be much more expensive than new construction. In addition, due to the constraints of University Hall’s infrastructure, it may be impossible to convert the space to meet today’s safety standards.
A modern science facility will offer a more efficient, flexible and safe working environment. Faculty and students require specialized, highly serviced teaching and research labs, and housing them under one roof will foster collaboration and interaction between departments, create efficiency in the sharing of costly, specialty equipment, and ensure the highest and best use of space.
New teaching labs, such as the one seen here at the University of Ontario's, Institute of Technology, will offer future U of L students modern spaces to conduct reserach.
(Photos from the Diamond and Schmitt Safety & Pedagogy Study, 2007)
The University of Lethbridge’s Campus Master Planning work is drawing to a conclusion. The construction of a new building to house high-intensity science teaching and research labs, and the construction of a new district energy plant, will support the vision articulated in the Campus Master Plan and contribute immensely to the transformation of our physical campus.