Source: Calgary Herald
Byline: Deborah Tetley
The University of Calgary wants to expand higher learning into the heart of the city.
In an effort to revitalize the downtown core and create space for post-secondary students being turned away from institutions, the university is looking at partnering with the City of Calgary and the private sector to develop a downtown campus.
While the idea for a campus east of the Beltline is still in its conceptual stage, potential partners say the plan is long overdue.
It's estimated the Urban Campus Initiative could cost "tens of millions of dollars."
U of C president Harvey Weingarten, who made the announcement in a chamber of commerce speech Monday, said a team had already begun drawing up plans with the East Village area in mind.
"It has the potential to be quite large," he said, adding there will be enough university seats for all qualified.
"I would like to be able to say that for every qualified student who wants a spot at the University of Calgary, there's a spot for them. I'd like to be able to meet the demand," he said.
The main university campus would remain in the city's northwest."The areas we're looking at . . . are difficult parts of town, areas that can use some revitalization," Weingarten said.
The university has already leased part of the first floor of the heritage customs building at 11th Avenue and 1st Street S.E., where the Faculty of Environmental Design is drawing plans gleaned from urban analysis.
Some potential partners include the City of Calgary, the Calgary Health Region, SAIT and the Calgary Stampede.
"For a project of this magnitude, depending on the number of partners involved, we are looking at a scale of tens of millions of dollars," said Roman Cooney, vice-president, external relations at the university.
Mayor Dave Bronconnier said the city is an interested partner and he would eventually like to see all post-secondary institutes involved.
A downtown presence would include expanded faculties in law, social work, continuing education, engineering, fine arts and health care.
It's too early to tell in what capacity the health region will participate or how much money it will invest, said Howard Waldner, chief operating officer, said.
Weingarten said the project may include renovated and new buildings.
Plans for the new facility are to be unveiled in May.