Downtown Dr. Foster James Penny Building opens May 16!

The department of Facilities’ Project Management Office has been hard at work updating and renovating the downtown Dr. Foster James Penny Building.

University of Lethbridge officials will officially open building in downtown Lethbridge on Thursday, May 16 beginning at 11 a.m.

Penny Building lobby rendering - Small

An artist’s conception of the lobby area inside the Penny Building.

The building, formerly a furniture store, is located in downtown Lethbridge at 324 5th St. S.

It was gifted to the U of L by long-time Lethbridge residents and restaurant entrepreneurs Jim and Hazel Penny. The building is named in honour of their late son Foster, a noted medical doctor and educator who passed away at age 44 in 1992.

In addition to providing a gallery space for Fine Arts students, the 2,862 gross sq. m. (approximately 30,000 sq.ft.) building also provides an ideal space for community events, with two large meeting rooms which are equipped with audio-visual equipment and flexible seating.

The Penny Building is also home to the U of L’s alumni relations office, the annual giving program offices and a U of L gift store.

The building has undergone extensive interior renovations, and in addition to the enhancements to the main floor spaces, now features an elevator, renovated and accessible washrooms, upgraded mechanical systems and a fresh and contemporary interior décor.

Read more about the project here.


Sand sweeping underway

It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it. Cleaning up a winter’s worth of sand from the University of Lethbridge campus can be an onerous task, but it’s just part of a regular routine for the Grounds department.

About 100 yards of sand was spread across campus this past winter in order to keep campus walkways as safe as possible for pedestrians. Some weather events where crews were unable to clear the snow before it compacted or turned to ice, resulted in generous applications of sand, salt or ice melt products, leaving plenty of sand behind when the snow melted.

Workers try to save as much sand as possible to reuse the following year which helps the department save on costs to replenish its supply. However, the sand must be fairly clean – yes, clean dirt – otherwise it leads to dust, tracking or spreading of litter.

In order to get the sand in good, reusable condition, Grounds crews will first sweep the streets where the sand is cleanest. The sand is piled and stored at the bone yard until the weather warms up enough for it to be spread out and dried. After the sand is dry, workers hand pick out the litter, leaves and other debris, and the sand is piled back into the sand shed for use the following year.

Sand that has been piled onto grassy areas along roads and walkways is not suitable for reuse as it is usually mixed with a lot of litter and grass.  However, some of this sand can be used for back fill or it can be spread on campus dirt trails to minimize mud. This sand is swept up with smaller sweepers so it can be picked up by a bigger sweeper afterwards. This helps avoid build up over time and reduces the risk of sand clogging up irrigation heads and destroying healthy grass.

Caretaking Manger Judy Jaeger says she appreciates the effort by Grounds crews as it means less work for her staff to clean up the sand that gets tracked into campus buildings.

“They do an awesome job,” she says. “Cleaning up the sand inside building entrances takes away from other work we do to keep classrooms and public spaces clean and tidy, so my employees are especially glad to see the sand cleared away outside.”

For more information on Grounds or its operations call 329-2602 or email

Visit the Facilities website.



Campus construction projects starting soon

The University of Lethbridge has met with a significant challenge in dealing with recent budget cuts. Several departments across campus have felt the hit including Facilities. The parking lot project won’t be as extensive as previously reported, and the UCA North Patio renovation project has been postponed until further notice.

However, several other exciting projects are in the works to help enhance our campus and  create a more sustainable environment.

Food Services Renovations

Now that the U of L has a new food vendor coming on board, work to update the food services area in UCA will get underway this summer.

Work to improve the Amamark food services area in University Hall and LINC will begin in May. Due to the extensive renovations of this project, Coulee Junction (CJ’s) will be closed for the summer.

Prelim view CJ's 2

CJ’s will be renamed “The Urban Market.” The floor area will expand from 885 sq. metres to 1,085 sq. metres. The facility will see several upgrades including new electrical, plumbing and ventilation systems, and renovations to the Aramark Catering business offices, food service areas, dining room, and cooking and food prep stations. The new venue is set to open August 2013.

In addition, Fresh Express in Block C of U Hall will be transformed into Subway, and The Station (Level 9 LINC) will become Starbucks.

Parking Lot Rehabilitation

Due to budget constraints, work on the western parking lots will be limited to completion of last year’s work as well as repairs to some badly damaged asphalt resulting from a harsh winter conditions.

Library Roof

The Library roof will undergo work as crews replace the roofing membrane that has been lifted by the area’s notorious winds. So long as Mother Nature cooperates, the project will last from about May to mid-August. During this time the south entrance to the Library from the Aperture loop will be closed.

The Library’s south patio doors will also be closed intermittently throughout the summer however, the north entrance will remain open.

PE Tunnel and South Plaza Rehabilitation

The South Plaza will see about 1,500 sq. m. of concrete removed and re-poured along the exterior of the Max Bell Aquatic Centre and Student’s Union Building. This area will be closed from May to December to allow heavy equipment to move easily within the site.

Due to construction both inside the tunnel and on the plaza, the tunnel will be closed for the duration of the project.

Construction fencing and snow fencing will be placed around the site. Entrances highlighted in red on the below image indicate door closures for the duration of the project. Entrances highlighted in green (PE Building) indicate temporary public access.

H:AppsDraftRNOPedestrian Tunnel South Plaza RehabilitationP


Pedestrians traveling from the Library to the upper campus are encouraged to use the pathways north of the Library to the northern building entrances.

Vehicular traffic will be directed through Lot D. Public transit stops will be moved back towards the Library entrance (highlighted in pink above).


Brown goop on campus an eco-friendly de-icer

People walking around campus may have noticed a brown liquid in areas where slipping hazards are great such as sloping sidewalks and stairs.

The U of L Grounds department traditionally uses a salt-based ice-melting agent, but is now testing out a more environmentally friendly product called “Fusion” from Eco Solutions.

Fusion is a 100 per cent organic and biodegradable anti-icing agent made from plant material. It will allow Grounds to reduce its salt use, resulting in less corrosion and pollution of the river. It can also be applied on grass and shrubs without the damage associated with salt spreading. While Fusion may not always result in complete melting of icy surfaces, those surfaces should be less slippery after treatment.

“Our goal is to provide a campus that is safe and operable while doing less harm to the infrastructure, the environment and the equipment we use to care for the campus,” says Phil Dyck, manager of Grounds.

Grounds is carefully evaluating the performance of this product and welcome any feedback. More information on this product and others like it can found here and here.




Register now for the 5th annual Steps for Life walk!

Last year, there were 23 reported workplace fatalities in Alberta. Unfortunately, the University of Lethbridge experienced one such tragedy firsthand at one of its construction sites. As way of honouring those whose lives were lost and to help support loved ones left behind, the University of Lethbridge is once again participating in the annual Steps for Life – Walking for Victims of Workplace Tragedy event.

Staff of Risk and Safety Services and Wellness have been participating in this walk for the past four years and are putting out the challenge for the University to have a bigger presence and be a significant contributor in the success of the 2013 Steps for Life walk taking place on Saturday, May 4.

Over the last four years, the annual Steps for Life – Walking for Victims of Workplace Tragedy event has been held in Lethbridge at Henderson Lake. The 2012 walk was an amazing success exceeding the anticipated $25,000 goal, with 647 walkers raising more than $30,400. This year the goal has been set to $30,000 with the hopes that once again Lethbridge will shine even more and be the number one fundraiser across Canada for this extremely important charitable event.

This event is open to the University of Lethbridge campus community –students, faculty and staff. Each year a team plaque is awarded for the team that displays the most spirit during the walk.  Let’s be the team that shines and brings the most spirit to this event this year. Let’s get out there and show our support and help make the 2013 Steps for Life Walk the best one yet!

The event occurs in more than 30 communities across Canada as part of the North American Occupational Safety and Health (NAOSH) Week to help raise awareness about injury prevention and to provide assistance to families who have been seriously impacted by a workplace fatality, life-altering injury or occupational disease.

All proceeds generated from this event go directly to the Threads of Life, a registered Canadian charity dedicated to supporting families along their journey of healing who are living with the aftermath of a workplace tragedy.

Corporate sponsorship for this event is also invited and sponsors will be recognized on the banner displayed at the Lethbridge Walk.

For more information visit,

Registration contacts:

Anne Baxter L991A – Risk and Safety Services (403-329-7176)
Suzanne McIntosh SU020E –Wellness (403-332-5217)
Dan Berte AH128 –Risk and Safety Services (403-329-2190)

Event Details:

Date & Time of Walk: Saturday, May 4 at 10 a.m.
Location: Horseshoe Pit Picnic Area -Henderson Lake.
Registration Fee: $10 (walkers aged 14 and under walk free). Registration fee includes lunch and door prizes after the walk.

Project Management Office launches new website

The Facilities Project Management Office (PMO) is responsible for the project management phase of campus construction and renovation projects.

The PMO consistently has several projects on the go, and in order to better inform the campus and Lethbridge community about its activities, the department has launched a new website.

It includes information about major construction as well as information about some of the smaller projects that don’t see as much limelight as others.

Requests for Proposals and Requests for Quotations for upcoming projects will also be available online.

We hope the new site will become a regular resource for contractors, the campus community, and Lethbridge residents.

Happy browsing!




Floors across campus getting facelifts

davonian walkway small 2The Caretaking department has been busy refurbishing floors across the University of Lethbridge.

After the success of the renewed aggregate concrete flooring in the Physical Education Building last summer, Caretaking took its floor polishing skills to the University Centre for the Arts Atrium, which is being stripped, ground and polished during evenings and weekends to ensure the least amount of interruption possible.

The 5,800 sq. ft. area should be completed in time for the Canada-wide Science Fair taking place at the U of L in May. Due to uneven floors, some dust may escape the grinding/polishing machine.

The original 1967 hardwood floor near CJ’s food services has also been refurbished. It was sanded and sealed to revive the natural wood colour.

Meanwhile, another flooring project is taking place in the Devonian walkway linking the Library building to UCA.

Caretaking crews are working to strip 13 years of wax from the floor, a task that hasn’t been taken on since the Library was built in 2000.

The floor is actually made of rubber, not linoleum, and as such, the sealer finish used all those years ago wasn’t the correct type, thus discolouring the floor. In addition, the floor area doesn’t get much oxygen which has created an atmosphere for the planters to form yellow rings on the floor due to oxidization.

Once the floor is stripped and a special rubber sealer is applied, the yellow rings will begin to fade and the original colour will shine through. The project should be completed by the first week of March.

In an effort to create better pedestrian traffic flow, the planters and seating will be replaced in the centre of the walkway making a natural right and left lane for people to walk. This trial will last about a month to determine its effectiveness. If unsuccessful, the plants will be returned to their original setting.

The Grounds department will maintain the plants to ensure they are not a pedestrian safety issue.

The digital signage televisions will remain where they are.

The Caretaking department’s next flooring project is set to take place in the Hall of Honour outside the Library doors. Minor work on this area has already begun on the floor edges when Caretaking workers are not able to access the Atrium.

For more information contact Facilities at 403-329-2602.

Summer 2013 construction season

In January, we mentioned how crazy busy campus constrution was going to be with all the projects planned for this summer. Well, we’ve got a few more details to add in order to keep you in the loop.

Speaking of loops, one of the biggest projects on campus also promises to be the most disruptive:

PE Tunnel Rehabilitation and South Plaza replacement.

This project will see the tearing up and replacing of the concrete slabs on the south plaza, as well as underground tunnel maintenance including leak repairs, installation of new air handling units for better air quality and new lighting.

The tunnel and outdoor area from the PE Building along the Students’ Union Building up to the rotunda near the Library will be closed will be closed throughout the duration of the project to allow heavy equipment to move easily within the site.

The closure also includes the Aperture Road bus loop. The U of L Facilities department is working with the City of Lethbridge to find a new, temporary bus route for L.A. Transit. We will let everyone know what the new route will be once it has been finalized.

Library roof

Nearby, the Library roof will undergo work as crews replace the roofing membrane that has been lifted by the area’s notorious winds. So long as Mother Nature cooperates, the project will last from about May to mid-July. During this time the south entrance to the Library will be closed.

West parking lots

The second phase of the parking lot redevelopment project will see Lots E and G undergo substantial work. In addition to repaving the lots, a storm water management and drainage system along with new trees and landscaping, windbreaks, concrete curbing and sidewalks, and new lighting will enhance the area. As a gateway to the University, this parking area is one of the first areas of campus that people see. The project will help create a sense of place and welcoming to new and returning guests.

UCA North Patio

The wood and concrete flooring on the North Patio off the University Centre for the Arts building will be replaced this summer. The entrance into the patio area at the bottom of the pathway will be closed, but pedestrians should still be able to access the path to gain access to other areas.

Food Services renovation

Now that the U of L has a new food vendor coming on board, work to update the food services area in UCA will get underway this summer.

In addition to these major projects, several others are already underway in less obtrusive areas such as the Prairie Quad north of Markin Hall, University Hall Breezeway infrastructure upgrades, elevator upgrades in UCA, Students’ Union Building and Turcotte Hall, and various flooring replacement and building control upgrade projects that will take place on evenings and weekends.

More information on these and other upcoming projects will be announced  as details emerge. The Facilities department would like to thank everyone in advance for their patience during the busy construction season ahead.

Our inaugural Annual Report has been published!

Facilities Annual Report smallWhat do you do when a light burns out in your office? Who do you call when you need to report a slippery sidewalk? A food spill? A broken window? Need a new office chair? A sign for your event? Perhaps you want to utilize the Safewalk program or have a questions regarding special event parking.

All of these tasks, and more, are performed by the Facilities department.

Our mission is to strive to provide the highest quality environments that enhance learning, creativity and growth. With more than 130 employees across more than a dozen departments, Facilities plays an important role in nearly every aspect of the University’s physical appearance.

Our first annual report presents a snapshot of our operations and achievements from the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Read a PDF of the report here.

Happy reading!

Come celebrate the new Campus Master Plan!

The University of Lethbridge recently celebrated its 45th anniversary, but we`re already looking ahead to the future.

Our campus has seen a lot of changes over the years, and we`re excited to enhance it even more by creating a compact, pedestrian friendly university.

To do that, we set out to create a new University Campus Master Plan with recommendations to guide the planning decisions for the physical campus at U of L for the next 25 years.

The 217-page document was ratified by the U of L Board of Governors in December 2012. Read more about the plan here.

A public open house celebrating the new plan will take place on Monday, Jan. 28, 2013.

The informal event begins with a social reception from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the newly-renovated stairwell area of the Physical Education Building followed by a presentation during the Architecture and Design course in PE264 at 6 p.m.

The reception will feature image boards, banners and slide show media. A short minute presentation will take place, with the consultant teams in attendance for casual conversation.

The main presentation in PE264, will be jointly presented by Associate Director of Campus Planning and Architecture Spencer Court, and representatives from project consultants Moriyama + Teshima Architects (Toronto) and Gibbs Gage Architects (Calgary). A short question period will follow.

These events are free and all members of the University and broader community are invited to attend.  If you have questions, please contact Spencer Court at