Categories
Events News Releases

CMU Celebrates the Grand Opening of Marpeck Commons

‘With honour and joy, we say thanks,” says President Cheryl Pauls

Speeches, songs, prayer, conversation, laughter, and excitement marked the opening of Marpeck Commons, Canadian Mennonite University’s new library, learning commons, and bridge.

IMG_0178
CMU’s Terry Schellenberg, Vice President External, welcomes over 300 people to the grand open ceremony for the university’s new library and learning commons

More than 300 faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends filled the building for its Grand Opening and Dedication ceremony, held this past Saturday, November 29.

“Today, we celebrate the possibilities for the university and far beyond,” said Vice President External Terry Schellenberg.

Plans for a new library, with a bridge that would connect the north and south sides of CMU’s campus, began to take shape more than 15 years ago. Construction began in July 2013.

President Cheryl Pauls reflected that a common question she faced during the building process was: Do universities still need libraries?

If they are merely places to store books, the answer is no. If they are spaces that draw students into conversations, then the answer is yes.

“The greater the stores of knowledge available at the push of a thumb, the greater the yearning for experientially-based connections amongst people enabling sound research, shared understanding, deep friendship, and trustworthy community,” Pauls said.

President Emeritus Gerald Gerbrandt, who led CMU from its inception in 2000 until 2012, recalled the meeting in 1998 where the idea of a new library and bridge first took shape.

“(The bridge) represents a larger vision, symbolizing CMU’s commitment to building bridges that overcome all kinds of divisions—not only between the two founding denominations (Mennonite Brethren and Mennonite Church), but among us, as well as between us and others,” Gerbrandt said.

Jerald Peters, Principal Architect at ft3, said that designing Marpeck Commons presented a challenge that he and his colleagues were eager to take on.

“It’s a challenge to design a building that has so many opportunities,” Peters said, adding that those opportunities included unifying a divided campus and welcoming friends and neighbours to CMU, all while being sustainable and creating a building that is “transparent and yet (has) a presence.”

Ribbon-cutting at Marpeck Commons with (l-r) Elton DeSilva, MB Church Manitoba Executive Director;  Marlene Janzen, Marlene Janzen CMU Board of Governors Chair; Jerold Peters, ft3 Principle Architect; Josh Hollins, CMU Student Council President; Elmer Hildebrand, CMU Capital Campaign Chair; Cheryl Pauls, CMU President; Ted Paetkau Concord Projects CEO, Willard Metzger, MC Canada Executive Director
Ribbon-cutting at Marpeck Commons with (l-r) Elton DeSilva, MB Church Manitoba Executive Director; Marlene Janzen, Marlene Janzen CMU Board of Governors Chair; Jerold Peters, ft3 Principle Architect; Josh Hollins, CMU Student Council President; Elmer Hildebrand, CMU Capital Campaign Chair; Cheryl Pauls, CMU President; Ted Paetkau Concord Projects CEO, Willard Metzger, MC Canada Executive Director

More than 700 donors contributed to the CONNECT fundraising campaign, which was established to make the new building a reality. Under the guidance of Campaign Chair Elmer Hildebrand, CEO of Golden West Broadcasting, the campaign has raised more than $13 million toward its $14.4 million goal.

Hildebrand said it has been a pleasure to work with a dedicated fundraising cabinet, and that the team is committed to working together until the campaign reaches its goal.

“We value the support from such a diverse community,” Hildebrand said. “Each gift is important and speaks to the past, present, and hope of the future.”

He added that the building is named after Pilgram Marpeck, a civil magistrate from the early 1500s whose Anabaptist convictions guided his life and work.

“In the turmoil of 16th century, he called for love and tolerance, and perhaps he has something to say to us today,” Hildebrand said.

Speaking on behalf of the student body, CMU Student Council President Josh Hollins noted that CMU has had an enormous impact on the way he interacts with people, thinks about the world, and sees himself as a Christian.

“What takes classroom learning to a whole new level is the conversations that I have with my peers, staff, and faculty over a cup of coffee, and the sharing of personal experiences,” Hollins said, adding that Marpeck Commons creates potential for more of such interactions.

“More broadly, I believe that it will help to foster the enriching community that we experience through coming to such a unique post-secondary institution here in Winnipeg,” Hollins said.

Marpeck Commons also houses CommonWord, a book and resource centre created in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada that will allow students and the public to buy, borrow, and download a wide range of resources, as well as a coffee and snack bar called Folio Café.

The Commons will be fully functioning by January 6, the first day of CMU’s winter term.

IMG_1906
Marpeck Commons—CMU’s new library, learning commons, and bridge—glows in the winter night.

The Marpeck Commons grounds include 100 new trees, a naturalized pond, a low fence and gentle pathways that will welcome community members in.

Pauls invited the community to engage in programs, get to know students and faculty, come for coffee and gelato, come to events, draw on resources, and spend time in Marpeck Commons.

“I invite people… to continue to pray and invest, and cherish the stories told through a university rooted in the Anabaptist faith tradition, moved and transformed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ, ever inspiring and equipping women and men for lives of reconciliation and service in church and society,” Pauls said.

“With honour and joy, we say thanks.”

YouTube Preview Image

About CMU
A Christian university in the Anabaptist tradition, CMU’s Shaftesbury campus offers undergraduate degrees in arts, business, humanities, music, sciences and social sciences, and graduate degrees in Theology and Ministry. CMU has over 1,600 students, including those enrolled in degree programs at the Shaftesbury Campus and in its Menno Simons College and Outtatown programs.

For information about CMU, visit: www.cmu.ca.

For additional information, please contact:

Kevin Kilbrei, Director of Communications & Marketing
kkilbrei@cmu.ca; 204.487.3300 Ext. 621
Canadian Mennonite University
500 Shaftesbury Blvd., Winnipeg, MB  R3P 2N2

Categories
General News News Releases

Library, learning commons, and bridge building project continues to move forward

Variance-2$9.3-million raised, variance approved, and tendering begun

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.

Categories
General News News Releases

CONNECT Campaign Reaches $8.4-Million

CONNECT CMU exterior night 5webJanuary 29, 2013 – Thanks to its committed volunteer fundraisers and donors, Canadian Mennonite University’s Board of Directors has unanimously agreed to move ahead with plans for construction of the CMU Library & Learning Commons and Bridge in 2013. The Board’s decision was prompted in part by positive momentum in fundraising which saw gifts and pledges grow from approximately $5.4-million in October 2012 to $8.4-million as of January 1, 2013.

“Our CMU Board concluded that the time is right to move ahead, thanks to the generous commitments thus far of a diverse and growing community of supporters,” says CMU President Cheryl Pauls in announcing the Board’s decision to proceed. “Our constituencies are clearly behind this project and want it to proceed at the earliest possible time, as a means to benefit both our University and the broader community.”

“It is gratifying to reach the $8.4-million level this early in the public phase of our CONNECT capital campaign,” says Campaign Chair Elmer Hildebrand, who is C.E.O. of Golden West

Broadcasting Co. Ltd. “While the end-goal of the CONNECT campaign remains set at $12.6- million, the generosity of CMU supporters puts the University in a position to move confidently into the building phase and the final stretch of fully funding this important project. This Board decision will continue to build positive momentum for the Campaign.”

Next steps are for the project architects (ft3) to complete final drawings by March 1.

“At that point, we will seek City of Winnipeg permits and put the project out to tender through the builder, Concord Projects Ltd.,” says Pauls. “Once the tenders come in, we will establish the construction start date, which is likely to be early summer 2013.”

“We have reached this phase thanks to the remarkable support of our donors and the excellent leadership by our CONNECT Campaign cabinet members – Chair Elmer Hildebrand, Art DeFehr, Philipp R. Ens, Bill Fast, Janice Filmon, Bert Friesen, Charles Loewen, Jake Rempel, and Tamara Roehr,” says Pauls. “There is a groundswell of support as a result of people across the country catching the vision of what this project can be. Now that we are close enough for people to know that this is really happening, it is helping our campaign.”

The CONNECT Campaign will establish a Library & Learning Commons at the heart of CMU’s Shaftesbury campus in south Winnipeg, generating vital resources and services, study and collaborative spaces, and welcoming the constituency and broader community into the life of the University. The project integrates CMU’s Bookstore with Mennonite Church Canada’s Resource Centre, and in addition includes a cafe and 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.

For Campaign information:

Visit CMU’s CONNECT campaign website: www.cmu.ca/connect

Contact CMU Director of Development Abe Bergen | agbergen@cmu.ca