University of Calgary

West Campus

 Andrew Wallace is the university’s first dedicated West Campus employee.
Andrew Wallace is the university’s first dedicated West Campus employee. / Photo by Ken Bendiktsen

Exploring infinite possibilities for the West Campus

New manager charged with turning vision into reality

By Terry Bullick

As a newly hired development manager, Andrew Wallace is charged with turning the University of Calgary’s vision for the West Campus into reality. It’s a task with infinite possibilities.
Among them: What will it look like? Where do you begin? How will it be financed? When will it be finished? Who will the university work with? Who needs to be involved? How do you sell it?

“I don’t pretend to have all the answers,” Wallace says just days after starting his new job with Capital Projects and Planning, “but just think what we could do in terms of sustainability, economic development and community.”

The university’s first dedicated West Campus employee, Wallace says one of his most pressing roles will be to “create ways for people to bring their good ideas” to the university’s vision for the 200-acre parcel of land overlooking Shaganappi Trail.

First and foremost, the vision has four major goals: create an environment that reflects the U of C’s vision, mission, priorities and academic plan; generate revenue to support learning, teaching, research and living; lead and support community-building in Calgary; and create a vibrant, diverse urban environment.

“Andrew comes out of the private sector and has very good knowledge on how to put complex projects together,” says Bob Ellard, the U of C’s vice-president of Capital Planning and Development.
One of Wallace’s first complex urban projects was The Forks in Winnipeg. A gathering ground for some 6,000 years, The Forks—located at the confluence of the Red and Assiniboine rivers—served as the city’s rail yards for more than a century. In the 1990s, three levels of government joined forces to fund redevelopment of the site. Today, The Forks is a revitalized historic site, complete with a market, a museum and a festival site, visited by four million people a year.

Wallace, who moved to Calgary in 2000, has also worked on innovative multi-use, multi-family residential developments for Resiance Corp. in Garrison Woods and Lake Bonavista. The Lake Bonavista project incorporated geothermal and solar heating and cooling systems; the Garrison Woods project featured a mix of residential and commercial space.

A graduate of the University of Regina, Wallace also holds a master’s degree in planning from the University of Manitoba. What satisfies him most about his work is seeing well-defined plans take shape. “I like seeing things being planned and getting built.”

He also likes building projects that attract people. “We want to create a place where people want to be—not just students and professors, but families and zoomers (healthy, active seniors),” Wallace says.  “And we have to connect people . . . moving people along the east-west axis of the entire campus is going to be critical to our success.”

Over the coming weeks and months, Wallace expects Capital Planning and Development will unroll more ideas, directions and plans for West Campus.