Concordia's Thursday Report

Vol. 28, No. 1

September 11, 2003


It’s party time at Loyola

by Barbara Black

“This is a great day for the university,” Dean Martin Singer told the festive crowd at an Arts and Science barbecue lunch on Sept. 2, but in fact, it will be a series of great days, as the new science complex on the Loyola Campus is opened both formally and informally throughout the month.

A big white tent has been erected in The Grove, the grassy area bordered in the L formed by the massive new building. As many annual events as possible will be held there this fall, such as the reception for newly admitted international students on Sept. 19.

The barbecue for students, faculty and staff on Sept. 2 was closely followed by a Saturday morning community breakfast, to which about 1,000 residents of the area were invited. These were the people whose early-morning peace was sometimes broken by the noise of heavy construction, and the university wanted to express its gratitude for their forebearance.

The official opening of the new building will take place at 2 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22, and Premier Jean Charest is expected to lead a roster of distinguished guests.

This is a big building, covering the equivalent of five-and-a-half football fields, yet it is already 95 per cent full. It is expected to house about 1,200 people on a normal working day, substantially more than this quiet campus has seen in recent years.

There will be a greenhouse on the roof with a spectacular view, but it has a serious purpose: to house plant biology; specifically, genetically-modified plant research.

The costs would make an accountant’s head swim, yet they were necessary for an up-to-the-minute scientific facility: $450,000 for eight sterilizers, $250,000 for audio-visual materials in the main lecture room, $600,000 for new exercise science equipment, $500,000 for equipment in the greenhouse. The solar panels and skylights in the greenhouse alone cost more than $50,000.

One of the most exacting and expensive elements of the building was its ventilation system, which moves 500,000 cubic feet of air per minute. However, it will conserve 24 to 45 per cent more energy than conventional designs.

The total cost of the building was $85 million, and it was raised from private contributions, not from government grants. It will house five departments and three research centres, all science-based.