State-of-the-Art Science & Environment College Takes Root
November 13, 2008
Ground Breaks on Richardson College for the Environment & Science Complex
WINNIPEG, MB – Manitoba Premier Gary Doer and James Richardson & Sons, Limited President & Chief Executive Officer Hartley Richardson, along with University of Winnipeg President & Vice-Chancellor Lloyd Axworthy and A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign Chair R.M. (Bob) Kozminski, today officially began construction of the Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex with a sod-turning ceremony. Today′s event marks another major step towards establishing UWinnipeg′s new Furby-Langside campus on Portage Avenue, where construction is already underway on the McFeetors Hall: Great-West Life Student Residence.
"The Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex is a prime example of effective partnerships with government and the private sector that benefit our students, our community and the province as a whole," said Axworthy. "This new complex will not only provide innovative new science and environmental facilities for UWinnipeg students, faculty and researchers. It will enable us to develop leaders who will become effective global stewards, and contribute to the development of practical solutions to today′s complex environmental issues."
The Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex is a first step in an innovative plan to enhance science education and research at UWinnipeg. The building will provide much-needed new classrooms, laboratories and offices for the Faculty of Science, especially the Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Studies departments. The College will be a cutting-edge centre, engaging students and faculty in innovative research in natural and social sciences with a focus on the North, climate change, water stewardship and indigenous science education. The building itself will also be a model for green building technology and will be constructed to a minimum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Silver Standard with a goal of achieving a maximum of energy efficiency.
The first phase of construction on the Complex begins within days with excavation and shoring work taking place through the winter months. Work on the complex′s exterior and interior is planned to begin in early 2009, subject to approval by the University′s Board of Regents, with expected completion in late 2010. This project will employ approximately 560 people during the next two years.
The Richardson College for the Environment and Science Complex was initiated two years ago, on Sept. 12, 2006, with the generous donation of $3 million from the Richardson Firm, Family and Foundation. One of the largest private donations to The University of Winnipeg to date, the Richardson gift establishes a College for the Environment that will foster environmental and sciences studies international in scope with an interactive community educational focus. Furthermore, after learning of the support from the Province and the impressive plans to revitalize this community, the Richardson Foundation provided an additional $500,000 gift toward the development of the urban greenspace surrounding the College along with a green corridor connecting the main University campus with the Furby-Langside site.
Two months later, the Province of Manitoba helped make the Complex a reality with its own historic donation of $25 million to the University′s A World of Opportunity Capital Campaign. Announced by Premier Doer on Nov. 16, 2006, it was the largest public donation ever to UWinnipeg. The Province has since provided $7 million in additional support for University laboratories, especially for vivarium and greenhouse facilities in the new complex, and upgrades to existing labs. These major gifts have since leveraged more than $5 million in additional fundraising from private donors for the project, with other interested prospects to come.
"This state-of-the-art complex will be widely recognized for its leading-edge environmental design and will complement the new Manitoba Hydro building as a symbol of innovation in downtown Winnipeg," Premier Doer said. "The new science complex will offer our students first-class learning and research opportunities in a first-class setting."
"Today's groundbreaking signals the construction of the new Richardson College for the Environment, which upon completion will bring together world-class instructors and state-of-the-art technology to prepare students for lives and careers that demand a thorough understanding of interactions with the environment," said Richardson. "The College will further support the University of Winnipeg's strengths in this new and emerging field of study. The new building will showcase sound environmental management as well as represent an important addition to the development of downtown Winnipeg," added Richardson.
"We appreciate the generous support of the Provincial Government in helping us build a first-class science complex for our students and faculty," said Kozminski. "This contribution, in addition to the generous gift from the Richardson Firm, Family and Foundation, will help The University of Winnipeg continue to be one of Canada's best post-secondary institutions."
Led by its new Principal, Dr. Michael Mehta, the Richardson College for the Environment is developing key academic and community programs in the areas of Forest Ecology, Urban Ecology, The Global North, Water Resources and Environment & Health. Community programming plans will incorporate high-school students from UWinnipeg′s Model School as well as inner-city and Aboriginal students through Eco-Kids and Enviro-Techs on campus. The focus will be on relating indigenous values to traditional scientific and environmental issues as well as hands-on displays and exhibits.
Total costs for the Richardson College for the Environment & Science Complex project are $58.7 million with construction costs of $40.For more information contact