From its inception to the building’s history, the Downtown Campus has an exciting story to tell.
Brainchild of former University of Calgary President Harvey Weingarten, the campus set out to become the “intellectual and cultural centre, and meeting place of Calgary”. Its mission was to offer students new and exciting experiences and deepen the university’s engagement with the community while freeing up space on the main campus. The university wanted to significantly expand its capacity to offer students experiential learning opportunities, particularly in the area of community service learning, which connects students directly with local businesses and non-profit organizations.
“Students tell us they’re looking for a very high quality solid classroom experience coupled with experiences in experiential learning, working with community groups, social groups and the business community,” said Weingarten. “This is exactly the kind of facility they need to round out their education—to make it relevant, contemporary and useful.”
The University’s Board of Governors approved the project and site in 2009. With that, programs such as Continuing Education, Haskayne’s executive education and School of Public Policy’s professional development programs joined the campus in hopes to enhance the teaching and learning experience for students and community members.
The selection of the site was made following an extensive due diligence process that identified possible downtown locations. The 8th Avenue location was selected for several reasons, including its proximity to the LRT, the flexibility of the space, the ability for the University to create a significant store-front presence, and the timely availability of the space.
Fully funded and operated within a special funding envelope provided by the Province of Alberta, the University would lease the entire building and will control all the space in it. The building provides over 140,000 square feet of flexible space.