Winnipeg, May 2, 2013 – Following the celebrations of the 2013 Graduation Exercises at Canadian Mennonite University (CMU) comes more exciting news—the university’s newest building project is a few steps closer to becoming a reality.
Construction of the CMU Library & Learning Commons and Bridge is slated to begin early this summer after the university’s variance application was approved on Wednesday, April 24 at a Board of Adjustment hearing at City Hall. CMU needed permission to build the library closer to Grant Avenue than is permitted under City regulations, and the City approved its request.
With this approval, CMU entered a two-week period during which immediately adjacent neighbours can contest the variance, though no concerns about this project have come forward.
Paula Havixbeck, City Councillor for Charleswood-Tuxedo, spoke at the hearing and offered strong affirmation of CMU’s presence within the community and of how the new Library and Bridge will further strengthen this capacity.
“I am excited about this project and what it brings to the community,” Havixbeck said at the hearing. “This is an opportunity to bring the community together and to have more places to meet.”
The design process is nearing completion, and Concord Projects Ltd.—the project’s contractor—will issue tender documents this week. The tendering process will last approximately three weeks.
CMU Vice President External Terry Schellenberg says one of the reasons he is excited about the project is that the Library & Learning Commons will include both a café and a ‘conversation corner’ in which events such as book launches, readings, stand-up receptions, and opportunities for engaged conversation of significant issues to CMU and the broader community will be hosted.
“The café and Commons will foster interaction, story-telling, and conversation, all with the technical capacity to capture and communicate these stories in multiple formats, including audio, video, and on the web,” Schellenberg says. “We want to invite the surrounding community into conversation and make CMU a meeting place.”
The project is being funded by gifts raised by the CONNECT fundraising campaign. Under the leadership of Campaign Chair Elmer Hildebrand, who is CEO of Golden West Broadcasting, the campaign has raised $9.3-million of its $12.6-million goal. Approximately 300 donors have contributed to the campaign.
“We feel deeply humbled and grateful for the leadership from Elmer and other Campaign Cabinet members, as well as for the engagement of the donors who are supporting the campaign and making this dream for CMU a reality,” says CMU President Cheryl Pauls.
In addition to the café, the project integrates CMU’s Bookstore with Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre, and includes a pedestrian bridge to span Grant Avenue, connecting the new library to CMU’s south side campus and providing safe passage for the CMU University community.
Planned for the heart of CMU’s Shaftesbury campus in south Winnipeg, the Library & Learning Commons will generate vital resources and services, study and collaborative spaces, and welcome the constituency and broader community into the life of the University.