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Construction on Campus: ENV 3 Opens its Doors & Health Services Expansion Breaks Ground

Note: This article is hosted here for archival purposes only. It does not necessarily represent the values of the Iron Warrior or Waterloo Engineering Society in the present day.

As our campus continues through its major expansion, ground breakings and building grand openings seem to happen every term. In the past month alone, two buildings have officially opened their doors, and just last week a building expansion broke ground.

Environment 3, located on the mid-west interior of Ring Road officially opened its doors on November 18, 2011. The building is another product of the Knowledge Infrastructure Plan (KIP), which is a federal stimulus fund set up to enhance the country’s post-secondary institutions.

Environment 3 is a unique building as it was actually partially constructed over top of another environment building. In the spring of 2010, a massive steel lifting operation blocked off a section of Ring Road for the entire term as massive supporting beams for the new building were placed over top of the present Environment 2 building. Although the main entrance to ENV 3 is located on the ground, the upper floors extend over top of the older two story brick building.

The building also is currently targeting LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) platinum certification – the highest possible in the program. To achieve this level of certification, many unique building features have been implemented into its design.

On the roof of the building, a photovoltaic installation is expected to provide 60,000 kWh of electricity each year while on another section of the building a 5,000 square foot green roof garden patio exists. Renewable building materials have been used in the building’s construction and energy and resource efficient fixtures have been implemented for the building’s lighting and plumbing. Furthermore, the atrium of the building includes a two-story “bio-wall” – a wall of living plants, which connects to the building’s air supply system to act as a “living air filter”.

The building was originally supposed to cost $20.7 million, 70% of that coming from the federal government. After construction began, a change was made from achieving LEED Gold to Platinum certification which then added a further $2.395 million dollars to the project plan. The additional cost of achieving LEED platinum is to be partially supplemented with fundraising activities.

Apart from the Opening of Environment 3, the health services expansion has broken ground. Back in the fall of 2009, a student referendum was held asking to approve student funding to construct two new buildings on campus. One of those buildings was to be  a student services building to be built just south of South Campus Hall in parking lot H, and the other was to be an expansion of health services.

Students voted against the construction of the student services building but were still in favour of the health services expansion. The expansion is to be funded by an added student fee to be tacked onto each student’s term fees. This added fee starts once construction is complete.

Two years after the referendum, the health services expansion finally broke ground on Thursday of last week. Construction had been mobilizing over the last couple weeks with the construction area now fully fenced off and site excavation started.

The project is expected to cost $7.75 million dollars and repayment will begin as a $10 fee tacked on to student tuition starting once the building has been completed sometime next year. The fee will stay on student’s tuition bills for a maximum of 20 years or until the building has been fully paid off. Similar student orientated buildings have been funded with a student fee in the past such as the SLC expansion/renovation in the 90’s as well as the CIF sports complex on north campus.

The expansion adds 20,000 square feet of space across two levels and also includes around $600,000 of renovations to the existing building. The first floor of the building will include 21 new examination rooms and the 2nd floor will be used for the mental health and health promotion activities of the University.

Kearns Mancini Architects Inc. along with John MacDonald Architect Inc were selected as the architects for the project and Devlan Construction Limited have been selected as the construction managers.


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