REGINA — Construction has begun on a $3.3 million project to give a new entrance and increased accessibility to the 50-year-old Campion College building. Campion is a federated college of the University of Regina and the only Jesuit undergraduate college in Canada.
The project will be completed in two phases: the first, already underway, will create a new exterior entryway and stairwell and the second phase, to begin next spring, will install a new elevator in a different location. The new entranceway is to be constructed on the north side of the building directly opposite the entrance to the two new student high rises now completing construction. More spacious entryways on each floor of the four story building will also be created.
“This has been many years in the making,” said Dr. John Meehan, SJ, Campion College president in a news release. “As a Jesuit college, we are committed to creating a barrier-free environment for all and the Building Enhancement Project brings us one step closer to that goal.”
The government of Saskatchewan is putting up $443,000 from its Advanced Education Preventative Maintenance and Renewal Fund. The rest of the money is coming from previous fundraising campaigns and a new $1.6-million campaign to complete the funding.
Kevin Doherty, who was the Advanced Education Minister when the project was announced, said the Saskatchewan government was pleased to provide the additional funding. “We understand the importance of providing barrier-free learning facilities to ensure students have the ability to participate in all programs.”
Doherty was made Finance Minister in the recent cabinet shuffle announced by Premier Brad Wall.
The announcement comes about six months after Meehan accepted a Dec. 3 challenge from a wheelchair-confined student to try and navigate his way through the first two stories of the Campion building.
“It was tough,” said Meehan after completing the journey.
Plans for the enhancements announced after the wheel chair challenge estimated the costs to be about $2.3 million, and it was estimated construction would begin in 2016 with completion in 2017 when Campion celebrates its centennial. The additional funding from the ministry allowed the project to begin a year earlier.
Besides the new construction and elevator relocation the project will address some deferred maintenance needs in the 50-year-old building, including classrooms that will be made more accessible.
Campion College is the first of what are now three federated colleges located on the U of R campus. The others are Luther College and the First Nations University of Canada.