Field Research Stations Redevelopment – University of Calgary

Students Walking Outdoors On University Campus
Scope: Redevelopment of two field research sites 
Value: $10 million
Location: Calgary, Alberta
Start & Completion: May 2016 – April 2018
Client: University of Calgary

Challenge

As a proposed SIF project, the University of Calgary want to redevelop three separate but linked field research sites: the RB Miller and Barrier Lake stations in the mountains of Kananaskis and the relocation of the Weather Research Station to the edge of the City from the main campus in Calgary. These sites are unable to meet the scientific requirements necessary to support critical research on a range of studies including wildlife, mountain and foothills ecology, environmental studies and measurable changes to our climate.

Solution

The University selected Colliers Project Leaders to manage the two remote mountain sites in Kananaskis. Each project includes classrooms, lab spaces and office environments. The team must manage the challenge of planning and implementing the work amidst ongoing operations. Each site has its own specific research requirements and complexities. The existing RB Miller Station is extensively used for year-round animal behaviour studies involving Bighorn Sheep and Columbian ground squirrels because of its isolated location and large nearby animal populations. Our team removed aged and decaying support structures, and has re-aligned the research and support activities to be included into one compact research and living space designed to be net zero and off the grid. At the significantly larger Barrier Lake site, the buildings are old and no longer fulfilling their research and support mandates. Infrastructure upgrades will see the replacement of the wet and dry laboratories, and the replacement of out-of-date spaces for new capacity. With increasing fire and flooding risks in the mountains, “Fire Smart” applications to the building envelopes and surrounding landscape will help to preserve the asset under adverse conditions.