May 1, 2020

University of Calgary breaks ground on Mathison Hall, new building for the Haskayne School of Business

$90M two-year construction project begins today
Mathison Hall
Rendering of exterior of south east of Mathison Hall Rendering courtesy Diamond Schmitt and Gibbs Gage

While there will be no celebration, fanfare or photo-ops of shovels in the ground, make no mistake, May 1, 2020 will be an important day in the city’s business history.

Construction is beginning for the Haskayne Capital Expansion project, which includes the new four-storey 10,000-square-metre Mathison Hall building and renovations to Scurfield Hall. These buildings will combine to become a new home for the Haskayne School of Business when construction is completed for September 2022. The LEED Platinum project will add a dozen new classrooms — ranging in size from 40 to 100 seats — to the business school as well as new spaces for study, group work, student advising, food services and events.

These facilities will greatly enhance business education in Calgary and help equip generations of students to apply their business education to bring innovative ideas to market and entrepreneurial thinking to the economic challenges we will face in 2022 — and beyond. 

“A celebration today to mark this groundbreaking would have been a fitting acknowledgement of the dedication and commitment of our students, faculty, staff, advisers, alumni, donors, and university leaders who have done a lot of heavy lifting to make this vision come to life,” says Haskayne Dean Jim Dewald.

Generations of business students will learn and grow tomorrow, thanks to this investment made today.

The project has been a university priority since 2014 and is proceeding to address a significant space crunch. When Haskayne’s Scurfield Hall opened in 1986, the school had approximately 1,000 students taking courses in traditional lecture halls. By 2022, the school is projecting to have 4,000 students across Bachelor of Commerce, MBA, Master of Management, PhD and DBA programs who will learn in technologically enhanced state-of-the-art spaces that facilitate learning by lecture, group work and experiential learning.

“This is a critical time for the school to expand in support of our strategic growth and bold vision and will add significant capacity for unparalleled learning, innovative research and meaningful community engagement,” says Dewald. “We are creating a home for our students and bringing all business classes back to the business school with new places to collaborate, study and learn.”

Early support from the business community 

Since the University of Calgary announced the project in 2018, generous donors have contributed over $28 million of its $40 million philanthropic goal. In addition to the gift of $20 million from Ronald P. Mathison, other business leaders and alumni have invested in the project including Rob Peters and family, Michael and Renae Tims, as well as Mac and Susan Van Wielingen, through Viewpoint Foundation. 

“The Haskayne Capital Expansion project is an investment in the future of business education in Calgary and will bring immeasurable benefits to our students, province and economy,” says UCalgary President Ed McCauley. “Demand from students for undergraduate and graduate business programs has grown significantly and we are matching this thriving demand for management education with incredible support from Calgary’s business community to make this project a reality.”

Safe working conditions

The May 1 date for construction to begin had been set for nearly a year as design work was well underway, and those construction protocols have been updated in recent weeks in light of the distancing measures now commonplace. The university and its contractor have been in close contact with Alberta Occupational Health and Safety to implement safe working practices. The project is on time and on budget. By safely proceeding with construction now, we will provide employment opportunities during a time of economic uncertainty. 

Haskayne’s current home, Scurfield Hall, was also built during challenging economic times in Alberta and since it opened its doors in 1986, the school’s alumni have gone on to manage  businesses small and large, been champions of innovation and have risen to significant leadership positions in our community, our country and across the globe.

The money raised for the capital expansion project is part of Energize: The Campaign for Eyes High, UCalgary’s transformative fundraising initiative. Fueled by the generosity of UCalgary’s friends and supporters, we are igniting discovery, creativity and innovation to make lasting positive change at the University of Calgary, in our city and beyond