University of Calgary

Stacks of change

UToday HomeNovember 29, 2012

MacKimmie Tower being renewed as a different kind of service centre.The MacKimmie Tower is undergoing some big changes inside. Photo by Riley BrandtThe MacKimmie Tower is one of the prominent structures located near the heart of the campus. It occupies, too, a special place in the hearts of many in the university family because of its long history as the main university library.

The books have moved to the Taylor Family Digital Library and the High Density Library, and now the MacKimmie Tower is ready to be renewed and repurposed. Built in 1972, the tower has not had any major upgrading. A wide range of changes are needed to bring the building up to university standards for health, safety and sustainability.

The current second-floor residents of the tower ― the Faculty of Graduate Studies (FSG) and the Graduate Students’ Association (GSA) ―are also undergoing changes to bring their spaces up to date.

"The renovations to the second floor are co-locating two highly utilized services by graduate students, the FGS and the GSA front wickets. This integrated first stop for graduate services, with a shared waiting area, is the first of its kind in Canada and will provide students with enhanced service delivery," says Franco Rizzuti, GSA president and chair of the Alberta Graduate Council.

"The change provides the GSA with the operating space required for our organization and consolidates offices that were all over campus. It also gives the GSA a prominent face at the heart of campus," continues Rizzuti.

Five floors of the tower will be re-invigorated with finance and services staff brought together from pockets scattered across the university. Once the tower renovations are complete, there will be about 300 people from those business units working there with one focus ― to provide better support services to faculty and staff.

“We’re bringing new activity and renewed purpose to the MacKimmie Tower,” says Jake Gebert, vice-president (finance and services). “By bringing together some of our teams in the university’s support services areas, we’ll be able to work more effectively and efficiently. And, in many cases, the quality of their work environments will be improved, which is important too.”

The renovations will make the most of natural lighting and will allow for maximum flexibility for work units to influence the configuration of their floors. Highly ergonomic work stations will be arranged around the perimeter of the floors by the windows, and the corner spaces with floor-to-ceiling windows are reserved for meeting rooms or collaborative work spaces.

These phased renovations and relocations to the MacKimmie Tower will begin in December and run until June 2013. Human Resources, currently in the Administration Building, will be among the first to move to the tower. The down time due to the moves will only be hours in most cases, and there will be no interruptions in phone or email services.

How it will ultimately stack up floor by floor in the tower:


Student study space


Integrated service stop for guidance and information related to human resources and financial services, and classroom


Graduate Students’ Association, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Post-Doctoral Program


Research Services and Research Accounting


Internal Controls and Enterprise Risk Management, Finance Operations, and Research Accounting


Finance Services, Financial Reporting, Financial Planning and Analysis, Treasury and Investments, and Human Resources


Human Resources

Above 6

The upper floors of the MacKimmie Tower will remain unoccupied until wholesale redevelopment at some point in the future.


More information about office moves will be shared in UToday’s Campus Connections – On the Move when the details are known.