Algonquin College unveils designs for new waterfront campus in Pembroke

Algonquin College has unveiled the design and winning proposal for its new waterfront campus that is pegged to drive the revival of Pembroke’s historic downtown core and ensure access to post-secondary education in Renfrew County.

“This is going to be an extraordinary campus that will create a learning environment and social atmosphere that will rival any leading Canadian college campus. We are extremely excited to be sharing these Renaissance Square Project designs with the community and we look forward to opening the doors of this great facility in the fall of 2012,” says Karen Davies, Dean, Algonquin College in the Ottawa Valley.

Among the many features of the new campus is Renaissance Hall, a focal point in the building that will include a student commons, cafeteria, and access to student services. The Kathleen and F. Allan Huckabone Library is a two-storey learning environment that will face the Ottawa River and will be showcased near the front entrance to the building. The campus will also include 16 classrooms and 9 labs including three nursing labs, a science lab, and an automotive shop, all built to meet the expectations of students in today’s technologically-driven learning environment.

Aligning with Algonquin College’s commitment to sustainability, the new Ottawa Valley Campus will be built to achieve LEED-Gold certification. The building will capitalize on natural lighting, have visible demonstrations of sustainability including daily electronic monitoring of energy usage, and a rain-catching cistern that will be used to water plants on campus.

“We wanted this new campus to be a beacon for sustainability and an example for our students. We have chosen high-performance building materials that will help the College shoot for one of the highest levels of sustainability certifications in Canada,” explains Davies.

Wood is prominent in the design of the new campus as the building materials were chosen to respect the rich history of the region’s forestry sector. “The use of brick and wood as primary building materials pay tribute to the region’s architectural heritage, while glass and steel projects a modern and future-oriented technical campus,” says Andrew Butler, Senior Designer, NORR Limited, the lead designer on this project.

Most of the funding for the project will come from Algonquin College with help from the Algonquin Students’ Association who have committed $4.3-million to enhance the facility with the addition of student recreational and social space. A community capital campaign is also underway to raise an additional $2.5-million.

Algonquin Students’ Association Director, Jacob Sancartier, says the new campus will significantly enhance the student experience in Pembroke. “For the first time in the history of the Ottawa Valley Campus, students will have a gymnasium and fitness centre on campus. The waterfront location will create an exceptional college environment that will make the campus a destination for college-bound students. The Students’ Association is very pleased to have contributed to the project as the new campus will benefit thousands of students.

The team of Giffels Corporation and NORR Architects has been chosen to design and build the new campus, a $36-million project. This award-winning architectural firm and construction company have worked on many projects together through an integrated design and building process and have committed to delivering the project within the financial and time parameters outlined by the College.

“We are absolutely dedicated to bringing this project in on-time and on-budget,” says Giffels Contractors Vice-President, Tim Fitzpatrick. “We are proud to be working with Algonquin College on their new campus and we look forward to calling upon local sub-contractors and tradespeople to help us build this facility from the first day of construction to the day the campus opens next year.”

NORR Architects is best known in Pembroke for its work in the renovation of the historic Renfrew County Courthouse. This design earned the company widespread accolades, including an Ontario Association of Architects’ 2009 People’s Choice Award, when it came out-on-top of a list of projects that were recognized for architectural excellence.


New Campus Features:

  • 1,016 full-time student spaces
  • Approximately 100,000 square feet
  • Four-storey building
  • Two-storey Kathleen and F. Allan Huckabone Library
  • Gymnasium
  • Fitness centre
  • Three nursing labs
  • Science lab
  • Expanded automotive shop and compound
  • Student commons including student lounge
  • Centralized student support services
  • Outdoor logger sports training area
  • Two elevators
  • Cafeteria and culinary arts working kitchen

Construction timeline:

  • Construction begins  May 2011
  • Substantial construction completion July 2012
  • Full occupancy August 2012
  • Building opens to students September 2012
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