UPEI on track to finish St. Peters Bay climate change campus this Fall

·2 min read

ST. PETERS BAY – Mayor Ronnie McInnis believes that the University of Prince Edward Island's (UPEI) upcoming facility will be a big plus for both the community and the facility's cause.

"We can adapt to the changes that are taking place," he said. "That seems to be the attitude that UPEI has toward it, so I think it'll be a good thing."

UPEI's Canadian Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation was announced for St. Peters Bay in 2019. Construction on what was dubbed a living laboratory started last year and was anticipated to be completed later this year.

"They seem to be moving forward on the project, and we look forward to having them in our community," McInnis said.

Jackie Podger, UPEI's vice-president of administration and finance, said that despite the COVID-19 pandemic the facility's construction has remained on track.

"If the weather continues to co-operate, we expect to see the facility completed in (the fall) 2021," she said in an email to The Guardian.

The 39,000-square-foot facility is located along Route 2 in St. Peters Bay, at the end of a long driveway, just across from the post office. So far, the preliminary site work that has been completed includes the stormwater management system, the foundation, the footings, the waterproofing drainage tile and the backfilling.

Currently, the building's steel structural components are being erected, and the contractor will begin installing the wall panels and beams next. The remaining work has either been tendered or is out for tender, Podger said.

The facility is designed by Baird Sampson Neuert Architects and SableARC Studios. Robert Haggis, principal architect with SableARC, said it was originally intended to be 45,000 square-feet in size, but this was reduced due to budgeting reasons.

While the university hopes the facility will be completed this fall, whether it will be ready for students in the 2021-22 school year is still to be determined, a UPEI communications representative said.

UPEI has offered a science bachelor in climate change and adaptation since 2018. When the facility is complete, students will spend their first two years at the Charlottetown campus before transitioning to the St. Peters Bay campus, which is located just over 50 kilometres from the university, for their final two years.

"It'll be good to have some young people around," McInnis said.

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Daniel Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian