The University of Saskatchewan is tendering a $4.7 million contract to ready the former Forestry Building in downtown Prince Albert for its new consolidated campus in the city.
In what political and business leaders have heralded as a major boost for the city and its core, the university announced in March it had purchased the building on Central Ave. for $8.125 million from the Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation.
According to public tender documents, the university has budgeted $4.7 million for conversion of the space from office to academic use, plus $683,965 for furniture, in what will be called the U of S Prince Albert Northern Gateway Hub.
A seven-chair dental clinic is to be included in the planning. There are plans to allow for the completion of four dental chairs at the time of construction and three others to be phased in at a later date. The College of Dentistry, according to tender documents, will offer services with a focus on Northern communities and the elderly.
The Hub will join together existing programs in the Colleges of Nursing, Medicine, Arts and Science, Kinesiology, Agriculture and Bioresources, and Pharmacy and Nutrition, currently spread over three separate locations in the city.
The timeline pegs construction to begin June 30, 2019, and finish by May 30, 2020, before furniture installation in June and opening that fall.
In a written comment to paNOW, Gord Hunchak, associate vice president of strategic communications, said the plan is to accommodate the existing cluster of approximately 325 students in Prince Albert at the facility.
The campus, he said, is the university’s opportunity to start developing a Northern strategy.
“By working with Indigenous communities we will get a better idea of what they are looking for from the University of Saskatchewan,” he said. “Our hope is that a campus presence in that area would spur economic development by bringing new services to the area, therefore bringing a positive impact to the city.”
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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