The new Academic Health Sciences E Wing at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S) is a stunning example of the marriage between old and new. The E Wing features two distinct sections: a three-story modern arm and a four-story collegiate arm. The complex continues the U of S’s century-old Collegiate Gothic architectural theme and incorporates contemporary finishes such as curtain wall and aluminum composite panels.
The building provides vital teaching and program spaces for the health sciences, including lecture theatres, offices, and a library for academic research. The Clinical Learning Resource Centre allows students to hone their patient-care skills in a multitude of examination rooms, three eight-bed procedure labs, and a nearby pharmacy skills lab.
The University of Saskatchewan’s new E Wing
The E Wing will boast the university’s
largest lecture hall, a new health
sciences library, labs, classrooms, and
Saskatchewan, “Land of Living Skies,” is a place not generally known for damp, dreary weather. In fact the city of Estevan—located only 275 miles from the U of S—is one of the sunniest in the country and has the clearest skies year-round. But bad weather, if allowed to do so, can cause havoc on a construction site.
In October 2009 the team demolished an existing three-story building and then began a large excavation to create the new building’s footprint. The winter had been normal and run-off not excessive; regardless, the project team installed the two permanent sump pumps and weeping tiles early on. This foresight paid off: construction began in March 2010, shortly before the rains began. Between April and September, the region received 645 millimeters of precipitation (three to four times the normal amount), breaking all previous records.
Build and Pour Strategically
A single confounding factor, the weather, could have significantly affected the project, delaying it into the winter and adding to costs. With the rain coming down, the project team, suppliers, and subtrades worked cohesively in the muck to ensure they met their deadlines. The goal was to get the tower portion of the building up and enclosed so that interior roughing-in and exterior masonry could begin. Concrete was poured on those rare days when the rain stopped. Only one pour of concrete was lost to the rain, amounting to less than 1.5% of the total.
Waste Management Is Crucial to LEED
Waste management is a critical part of the LEED process, from initial demolition right through to final landscaping. Achieving LEED® Gold had been the university’s goal from the beginning. The mud that was an ever-present byproduct of the rain needed to be contained within the project site to meet the LEED prerequisite for erosion and sedimentation control.
The team diligently maintained this effort by removing excess sludge from exiting vehicles with brooms and continually monitoring and sweeping roadways to preserve the mud on-site. Ground water was cleaned before being discharged into the storm system through a combination of techniques such as inlet protection, silt fences, use of coarse aggregate, and sediment traps.
“PCL has been extremely diligent in addressing all of the small items that can have a big impact on the delivery of a project,” said Ron Cruikshank, Director of Planning & Development for the University of Saskatchewan. “The approach and work ethic of the team has been very professional, which has resulted in the delivery of one of the finest buildings on the University of Saskatchewan campus.”