July 15, 2020

Piece-by-piece demolition complete on UCalgary’s Block and Link

Construction starts summer 2020
UCalgary’s Block and Link
Piece-by-piece demolition of UCalgary’s Block and Link. Tommy Nguyen.

Our UCalgary campus will look and feel slightly different as faculty and staff slowly return to work. This isn’t just because of the extra signage supporting COVID-19, or the decreased number of people on campus at one time. It’s also because UCalgary’s Block and Link have been demolished.

“While many of us haven’t been on campus over the past three months, work hasn’t stopped on Block and Link demolition,” says Boris Dragicevic, AVP, Facilities Development. “One opportunity that presented itself during COVID-19 was that we were able to continue construction.”

While the newly retrofitted MacKimmie Tower is now complete, the UCalgary Facilities team is focused on the Block and Link. Directly beside MacKimmie Tower, the Block and Link closed for demolition on Sept. 27, 2019. Fast forward 10 months and decanting, abatement and demolition are nearly complete, and excavation is starting.

“We took the Block and Link down piece-by-piece,” says John Millington, MacKimmie Redevelopment project manager. “We used a traditional, ground-based demolition method because there was a lot of mechanical dismantling to do. Because this building is in the centre of campus, we wanted a demolition method that gave us the most control, so we could ensure the safety of our campus community as the Block and Link came down.”

While it took over a year of planning to determine how the Block and Link would be taken apart due to the building’s intricacies, such as 60-year-old underground pipes and fittings, setup started when MacKimmie Tower was initiated. MacKimmie Tower will be the central hub for the Block and Link’s mechanical and electrical systems. With this setup already in place, the team is currently focused on ensuring that 95 per cent of the Block and Link’s dismantled pieces are recycled before construction begins.

“With less people on campus, we’ve been able to work 24/7 to remove the dismantled pieces so they can be hauled to steel and concrete recycling Facilities,” says Dragicevic. “The silver lining of the pandemic is that we had extra time to do this.”

Full demolition of the Block and Link will be complete by mid-July, and construction will begin immediately after. The building will be complete in summer 2022 and will be a vibrant student-focused building in the heart of campus. The new Block and Link will have four floors and is the future home of the Hunter Hub, Student Centre and registrar, as well as UCalgary’s Sustainability Resource Centre.

Swann Mall and Professional Faculties Building update

The south side of Swann Mall is nearing completion, and the major renovations in the Professional Faculties Building will be finished in August. Currently, levels three and four are complete, and once level two is done, furniture moves will begin. Professional Faculties is the future home of UCalgary Nursing.

In addition, UCalgary’s Garden of Learning statue will be reinstalled in August in a prominent location immediately west of the Administration Building. The famous Prairie Chicken statue will be back in 2022.

Be aware and take care

Nothing is more important than the safety of the campus community and visitors on our campus. While the Block and Link, Swann Mall and the Professional Faculties Building are under construction, several measures will be in place for the safety of our community, including hoarding and fencing around the construction area, pedestrian detours and traffic control measures.

Learn more about the Block and Link.