The Life Sciences Centre has seen some big changes in the past year, thanks to a $34.5 million retrofit project partially funded through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. Now, construction is set to begin on a new addition to the facility.
Dubbed the Oceans Excellence Centre, the 68,000-square-foot complex, which was recently approved by Dalhousie’s Board of Governors with a project budget of $30 million, will be added to the west end of the building, connected via a glass atrium with the Oceanography wing. The four-story building begins construction this spring with an estimated completion date of January 2013.
The building’s major tenant will be Doug Wallace—Dalhousie’s new Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Ocean Science and Technology—and his lab group. Part of the building will include a unique container bay that will hold several portable labs constructed from standard 20-foot shipping containers. This will allow Dr. Wallace and his team to work in the same labs out at sea as they do when they’re back on shore.
Building research capacity
The Oceans Excellence Centre will also house offices and research space for the Ocean Tracking Network, along with several new large water tanks as part of the Aquatron research facility. These will help the Aquatron expand its relationships with industrial and other clients. There will also be two floors of the addition that will not initially be finished, allowing for future expansion of LSC-related research activities.
Alex Walker, Director of Projects with Facilities Management, explains that a recently approved Sustainable Building Policy will mean that the OEC will be targeting LEED Gold certification. The university will also be planting 200 new trees and shrubs on campus to replace approximately 40 trees removed to make room for the facility.
“There is going to be some disruption in the months ahead due to initial excavation and concrete work,” Mr. Walker adds. In addition to noise from the work, the oceanography loading dock has already been closed, along with some of the building’s entrances and exits. The nearby parking lot off Oxford Street has been surrounded by a construction fence and will remain closed for the duration of the construction.
Facilities Management plans to communicate any further disruptions directly to staff and faculty of the Life Sciences Centre and surrounding buildings.
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