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Queenswood renovations move into seismic phase

Renovations to the Queenswood residence interior show space where a new staff lunch room will be located. Photo: UVic Properties.

The $7-million renovation project that will turn a former religious order residence into UVic’s new ocean and climate research campus has moved into the seismic upgrading phase.

Contractors are now working on the 26,000-sq-ft Queenswood residence building to drill, excavate and install rock anchors in bedrock, to secure the main supporting elements of the 35-year-old building. Once complete and with anchors in place, sheer walls of reinforced concrete will be constructed within the building to further protect and bring it to current seismic standards.

Over spring, an internal demolition stripped the Queenswood building interior, including removal of hazardous materials, mostly asbestos insulation, in the transformation from residence rooms into offices and research space.

“This is the start of the second phase of construction and we’re very pleased with the project’s progress and the support we’ve received from the community in developing UVic’s ocean and climate campus,” says Spencer Massie, project manager for UVic Properties. “We would like to remind residents that there will now be more activity at Queenswood, with multiple trades working and traffic flow with cement trucks and construction vehicles on site.”

Spot rezoning is also proceeding, to extend Queenswood’s use for education purposes. The Cadboro Bay Residents’ Association has voiced support for the ocean and climate campus. In addition, the District of Saanich council unanimously approved plans on July 13 to proceed forward to a public hearing on the rezoning application, which is expected to take place in August.

Once renovations are complete in spring 2018, Queenswood will become home to Ocean Networks Canada, currently situated on UVic’s Gordon Head campus. There are long-term plans to locate additional ocean and climate scientists and researchers at Queenswood as well.

A joint announcement made in January by the federal government through the post-secondary strategic infrastructure fund and UVic, includes a federal contribution of $3.1 million, augmented by UVic’s contribution of $3.9 million for the Queenswood renovations.

The university purchased the six-hectare Queenswood property, 2474 Arbutus Rd., in 2010 from the Sisters of St. Ann to accommodate future expansion of academic programs and research in a location nearby the Gordon Head campus.

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