Buildings depend on government, giving 

By Laurie Zack

The prime architect of Concordia’s ambitious building program, Jonathan Wener, presented an overview of building projects planned and underway at the May 20 Board meeting. These projects will be carefully examined in the light of the university’s budget situation.

Wener attributed the success of Concordia’s building development to date to the careful planning of the Board of Governors Real Estate Planning Committee, which he chairs and the in-house Concordia development team. He also emphasized the need for a long-range view of real estate planning that accounts for the value of property already held by the university and the future needs of Concordia many years down the road.

As presented in The Journal on May 8, the John Molson School of Business project is on time and on budget. Completion of the construction is slated for May 2009, with the building open in August 2009. The next steps will be to award contracts for IT, security, audio visual, public art, furniture and the move.
Wener explained that future development of the Grey Nuns acquisition depends on government support and fundraising efforts. Underlining the need to look at long-term needs, he said that several possibilities are being examined.

The university is looking at the west end of the property and considering the completion of the quadrangle structure as intended by the original architect of the project, Victor Bourgeau, in 1869. In the meantime, possible expansion of residence space in the existing building is being examined.

Wener outlined plans for a 360-foot-long tunnel between the GM and Hall/LB Buildings, which will create a fully integrated SGW underground network. Requests have been made for both provincial and federal infrastructure funding and several self-financing possibilities are being examined. It is hoped that the tunnel project will be approved in September with construction to begin in December 2008 and the tunnel opening as early as late 2009.

Planning is also underway for the recladding of the GM building. The project would cost an estimated $11.6 million, but close to half of the needed funds will be requested through a Quebec government public infrastructure upgrade investment program. The exterior walls will look more like the EV and JMSB buildings. Renovations will also provide added space and possible revenue-generating opportunities.

Wener outlined the five phases of the proposed $60-million Loyola Recreation and Athletics facility expansion, which will include a seasonal dome, exterior stands, triple gym, arena retrofit, indoor pool and cardio-fitness centre. Again, the project is dependent on both government support and university fundraising efforts. Rezoning for the project was approved in March 2008.

Wener said the university continues to look for ways to expand student residence space on both campuses, including partnerships with private partners. He was confident that the ongoing work of a sub-committee of the Real Estate Planning Committee with student leaders will eventually lead to a new student centre.


Concordia University