Photo by Mariah Wilson

MacKimmie Block to undergo renovations

By Ashar Memon, April 26 2018 —

The University of Calgary has begun a large-scale redevelopment project of MacKimmie Tower, which will last until summer 2019. The renovations are part of a larger plan to redevelop the MacKimmie Complex and the Professional Faculties Building.

This summer, the link between Murray Fraser Hall and MacKimmie Tower will be removed. In March, a large crane was needed to remove the exterior panels on the tower, along with the roof to make way for two additional new floors.

After construction of the tower is completed in summer 2019, work will begin on MacKimmie Block and the link which connects it to the tower. U of C expects to finish construction of the entire MacKimmie Complex by 2022. And after that, the school will begin the redevelopment of the Professional Faculties building.

“This is one of the largest construction projects in recent campus history, so we are thrilled to reveal to the campus community how the heart of main campus is being transformed with this project,” associate vice-president Boris Dragicevic said in a UToday article ahead of an open house for the project in March.

The tower’s new occupants will include the Faculties of Graduate Studies and Social Work. It will also provide a permanent space for the Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking, which is currently temporarily housed in MacHall.

In April 2016, the Alberta government announced initial funding for the planning stages of the project. Last year, the province committed $270.6 million over four years for its construction.

“By investing over $270 million, we’ll be bringing the building up to code and putting those spaces to use to deliver to students’ needs,” Alberta Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt said when he announced the funds in March 2017.

Previously, the tower was plagued by several issues. Since 2013, the tower’s top seven floors were barred from public access due to building code concerns. In 2015, a part of the tower was evacuated after a sewer backup caused flooding in the basement.

In May 2017, offices and services were relocated to locations on- and off-campus in preparation for the redevelopment and in September 2017 the tower was closed for interior “pre-construction activities.”

The tower will be an “energy-efficient zero carbon building,” the U of C says. The project will try to receive certification with Canada Green Building Council, a prominent environmental nonprofit which advocates for sustainable building practices.

“More than 95 per cent of the construction materials will be recycled, such as the concrete, rebar and other materials,” Dragicevic said in another UToday article

The MacKimmie complex was originally constructed in 1963 and the tower was built in 1972.

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