It's been said that the only constant in the world is change. That's certainly the case when it comes to the University of Lethbridge. With 40-year-old infrastructure that is starting to show its age, the University has been slowly upgrading the Lethbridge campus's physical attributes.
The Department of Facilities is working to create more modern spaces in a more sustainable environment, making the U of L a destination to be desired with better access, enhanced food services and state-of-the-art research facilities.
Unfortunately, you can't have change without, well, change. Renovations to existing structures and new construction can be noisy, messy and just plain inconvenient. That's why the department arranges to do the majority of its construction when classes are not in session.
While there are less people on campus during the summer months, the U of L is still buzzing with activity during this time and every effort is made to minimize the inconvenience to those who remain.
Most projects are completed between May and September, but some factors, such as Mother Nature (who likes to keep contractors on their toes) or unforeseen construction obstacles, can delay projects well into the fall semester. Some projects are so big that they will extend even further into the year. The impending PE Tunnel Rehabilitation and South Plaza Replacement is one of them.
Replacing the concrete in the south plaza presents a unique challenge as the PE Tunnel sits directly below and no more than 10,000 lbs. of weight can be placed on top of the tunnel at any time. Removing the concrete slabs above the tunnel will therefore require some creative manoeuvring.
The PE Tunnel restoration includes leak repairs, the installation of new air handling units to enhance air quality and the addition of new lighting. The tunnel will be closed throughout the duration of the project.
From May to possibly the end of the year, the outdoor area from the PE Building along the Students' Union Building up to the rotunda near the Library will also be closed to allow heavy equipment to move easily within the construction site. The closure also includes the bus loop, and the Department of Facilities has been working with the City of Lethbridge to establish a new, temporary bus route – the details of which will be released once they have been finalized.
Nearby, the roof of the Library will undergo work as crews replace the roofing membrane that has been lifted by the area's notorious winds. As long as Mother Nature cooperates, the project will last from about May to mid-July. During this time the south entrance to the Library will be closed.
West parking lots
The second phase of the parking lot redevelopment project will see Lots E and G undergo substantial work. In addition to repaving the lots, a storm water management and drainage system along with new trees and landscaping, windbreaks, concrete curbing and sidewalks, and new lighting will enhance the area. As a gateway to the University, this parking area is one of the first areas of campus that people see. The project will help create a sense of place and welcoming to new and returning guests.
UCA North Patio
The wood and concrete flooring on the North Patio off the University Centre for the Arts (UCA) building will be replaced this summer. The entrance into the patio area at the bottom of the pathway will be closed, but pedestrians should still be able to access the path by alternate means.
Now that the U of L has a new food vendor coming on board, work to update the food services area in UCA will get underway this summer.
In addition to these major projects, several others are already occurring in less obtrusive areas such as the Prairie Quad north of Markin Hall, University Hall Breezeway infrastructure upgrades, elevator upgrades in UCA, Students' Union Building and Turcotte Hall, and various flooring replacement and building control upgrade projects that will take place on evenings and weekends.
More information on these and other upcoming projects will be communicated to the University community as details emerge. The facilities department would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience during the busy construction season ahead.
Jamie Woodford is the project assistant, communications, for the Department of Facilities
This story first appeared in the Febraury 2013 edition of the Legend. For a look at the full issue in a flipbook format, follow this link.