Friday, January 30, 2009

U of O preparing tenders for new $90M building

By Peter Kovessy, Ottawa Business Journal Staff
Mon, Jan 26, 2009 12:00 AM EST

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The University of Ottawa's former child studies centre at 120 University Pvt. (Etienne Ranger, OBJ)

Contract for social sciences structure to include $15M in renovation work

Construction of a new 15-storey tower on the University of Ottawa campus is expected to begin in July as the school moves ahead with the centrepiece project of its five-year capital improvement plan.

The new home of the faculty of social sciences will be approximately 275,500 square feet and is expected to cost roughly $90 million, including soft costs such as permit fees, says Claudio Brun del Re, the school's chief architect and acting director of physical resources services.

"It is really a great project for the university that is going to transform the centre of our campus," he says.

Mr. Brun del Re says he anticipates the lump-sum tender to be issued in May or June. The contract will also include roughly $15 million in renovations and space reconfiguration of the adjacent Vanier Building, bringing its mechanical systems and design up to current standards.

The Vanier Building will be connected to the new tower, to be located at 120 University Pvt. on the western edge of campus. The site is currently home to a 50,000-square-foot building constructed in the early 1970s that will be torn down, says Mr. Brun del Re.

Tenders to demolish the old child studies centre, designed for small children and no longer used for its original purpose, close later this week, according to a notice on the Ottawa Construction Association website.

The university is hoping the new tower will receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating, says Mr. Brun del Re, explaining it will feature green roofs as well as internal vertical 'biofilter walls' containing plants filtering the air and removing contaminants.

"You can smell the (difference in the) air as you walk through a forest – it's basically the same idea," he says.

"It's a really cool system."

A central pavilion, consisting of an atrium space, will occupy the centre of the ground floor and allow pedestrians to walk from the transit station to the north part of the campus, according to a summary of the site plan application filed with the city.

Public spaces, including classrooms, a student lounge, auditoriums and multi-purpose rooms will be located to the west of the atrium. The eastern portion will contain a student cafe and a lounge area.

The second floor will be filled with group study halls, lounge areas and computer laboratory areas. Offices will occupy the remaining floors.

Drawings of the proposed building have not yet been publicly released because they have yet to be approved by the university's board, says Mr. Brun del Re.



New University of Ottawa faculty of social sciences building

Address: 120 University Pvt.

Height: 15 storeys

Square feet: 275,500


  • $90 million (construction of tower, including soft costs such as permit fees)

  • $15 million (renovations and optimization of adjacent Vanier Building)

Consultant's team: Led by joint venture of Diamond + Schmitt Architects Inc. (Toronto) and KWC Architects Inc. (Ottawa).

Other players: Delcan Corp. prepared the site servicing and storm water management report, as well as the traffic and parking report; Kanata-based Golder Associates conducted a phase two environmental site assessment; Corush Sunderland Wright Ltd. is the landscape architect.

Environmental features: Aiming for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold rating. Plans include some green roofing and internal 'biofilter' vertical walls that have plants reducing air contaminants.

Timeline: Tender to be issued in May or June, with construction beginning in July. Building scheduled to open in late 2011 or early 2012.

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