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Concordia’s new Applied Science Hub is a true collective achievement

The Loyola Campus research facility is the result of a four-year-long, multidisciplinary effort
 

Concordia’s newest building, the Applied Science Hub, is officially open.

The $62-million structure, located on Loyola Campus, brings together scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs to advance innovative, next-generation research at the university.

kirsten sutherland Kirsten Sutherland, senior director of project management for Facilities Management.

The December 1 opening was marked by a hybrid live/recorded event that featured Concordia President Graham Carr. He was joined virtually by senior administrators, Hub occupants and government officials.

“This four-year masterpiece was a work of dedication by a Concordia collective,” says Kirsten Sutherland, senior director of project management for Facilities Management.

“No project could ever be conceived or built without a strong team of external professionals, consultants and contractors, to whom we are grateful beyond words. But behind the scenes there was an equally strong team of our own Concordia community who worked tirelessly to deliver a building we can all be proud of.”


Facilities Management

“A thank you goes out to Marie-Claude Lavoie, our associate vice-president of Facilities Management, who supported the multiple facilities management teams to ensure the Applied Science Hub was delivered,” Sutherland says.

The strategic planning team, led at the time by Martine Lehoux, conceived a project that won government approval and followed the project details, always ensuring Concordia’s high design standards were met. “I owe special thanks to Dominique Dumont, our internal architect at the time and Lucy Szablak, our engineer, for their dedication on this project,” she says.

Concordia collaborated with external consultants Colliers Project Leaders, who worked on the project for three years. Claude Lazzam, a senior project manager with Colliers, headed strategy and organization, project manager Damien Clergue led day-to-day construction and fellow manager Malachy Phelan supported the minute details.

The university’s infrastructure projects manager liaised with the Colliers team and provided details of Concordia’s workings. “Our internal architects and engineers were involved from the beginning to the end guiding decisions,” Sutherland says.

Our interior designer selected modern furniture to meet client needs, and our signage coordinator implemented the new signs. Another of Concordia’s internal architects and the associate dean of academic facilities in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences worked with the public art lead, sitting on the selection committee that helped to bring Concordia another piece of public art.

Quebec artist Marc-Antoine Côté designed the two-storey sculpture, made from 2,700 kilograms of metal. “Montre-moi par où on commence. Dis-le-moi au creux de l’oreille,” invites passersby to step inside the outdoor art work.

Sutherland says she is also grateful to those behind the sculpture’s installation, who managed the contract and change orders with the Government of Quebec.

 

Property Management

Pat Pietromonaco, senior director of property management at the time, put together a team led by Stephan Drolet. They followed the project, knowing their team would be responsible for the building for years to come, and ensured their operational requirements were integrated in the design. Drolet was often consulted during the design and sat in on all the construction meetings.

Concordia’s operations staff readied the building staff, from the boiler room crew to the plumbers, electricians, carpenters, locksmiths, custodial workers and distribution, mail and transportation teams.

These groups played an important role assisting throughout the project, connecting the Hub to the existing Loyola Campus infrastructure.

“They had a very positive approach, working daily with our contractors,” Sutherland says. “Without these teams, our new building would not have been able to operate so well.”


Administrative services

The administrative team worked hard behind the scenes making sure that the project flowed.

“They were in charge of transferring funds from Concordia to the contractors and professionals, and they made sure invoices were circulating and money was in the accounts,” she says.


Research

Justin Powlowski, associate vice-president of research, strategic initiatives and partnerships at the Office of the Vice-President, Research and Graduate Studies, played a key role.

“This is fundamentally a research building, and we are grateful for Justin Powlowski’s leadership and involvement in steering the project in the right direction and providing wise advice along the route — especially when budgets were tight and difficult strategic decisions were needed,” Sutherland says.

 

Hospitality and Parking Services

Hospitality and Parking Services determined parking requirements and worked to get a mobility plan in place while overseeing all the road and parking closures that required coordination.

 

Instructional and Information Technology Services

Instructional and Information Technology Services (IITS) was assigned with bringing the necessary technology to the building, making sure client needs were met.

“What would this building be without its ability to connect to the internet through data and Wi-Fi or an auditorium without audio-visual equipment?” asks Sutherland.

“This detailed work throughout the project was crucial.”


Security

Sutherland says special thanks are due to the Concordia Security team, who were involved from start to finish identifying needs and implementing solutions so the Hub would be secure and safe for all.

“From cameras to swipe cards, they attended to every detail.”

Other security-related tasks included those of the fire marshal, who ensured all safety requirements were implemented and installed.

 

Environmental Health and Safety

The Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) team was involved from the beginning, defining the safety requirements for the labs, establishing the safety protocols for working in the various labs and detailing the safety needs for operations teams to work within the spaces and with the equipment.

“We were building a high-tech, 21st-century facility. Additionally, we had to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic mid-project,” Sutherland notes. “Without the support of EHS, we would never have been able meet environmental health and safety requirements.”

 

Legal Services

Concordia’s Legal Services team arranged that the proper contracts were in place to get the project off the ground and found solutions to challenging situations along the course of the project.

“I want to give a special thank you to Valerie Gastebled, who found time to help with any legal issues that arose,” Sutherland says of Concordia’s associate general counsel.

 

Government Relations

Government Relations played a vital role in the project from the start, as generous funding from the Quebec and Canada governments made the Applied Science Hub possible.

“Our team in Government Relations did a fantastic job. They helped us interact with all the people involved in the project at the government level,” Sutherland says.

 

Financial Services

“No project would flow without the money,” Sutherland notes. “The Restricted Funds team got money into the accounts and ensured cheques came through in a timely manner. They were always available anytime we had questions.”

Early on, Procurement Services ensured Concordia hired the best available professionals to start the project.

Throughout the process, they made sure all the specialized professionals or services were secured. As construction progressed, they ensured all the equipment, furniture and signage was purchased on time.

 

University Communications Services

A project of this size required the work of not one but two communications advisors.

They attended operational meetings, wrote news stories, coordinated photography and videography and kept the Hub’s website up to date.

“The communications team brought visibility to this project all along the way,” Sutherland says. “They helped us navigate issues early, bringing our extended community onboard with our project. Their stories bring to life all the incredible work that the researchers will be doing in the Hub.”

 

University Advancement

The University Advancement team managed the Hub’s virtual opening.

“It’s so exciting to finally see it all coming together! The launch event had a lot of moving parts, and I am so grateful for Advancement’s expertise in events planning,” Sutherland says.

 

Researchers

The Hub was built for a purpose: to be occupied daily by Concordia’s researchers, professors and students. The building has to meet their research needs.

Sutherland says she is grateful to all the researchers who participated in expressing their wishes, working tirelessly to identify the future environment in which they wanted to work.

“It takes mastery to pin down the requirements of such a large group of people and to bring it forward to a way that can be translated by a professional team into a building.”

 

‘Our greatest partners on this journey’

“The team in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, led by Miriam Posner, collected all the information from the diverse group of researchers, mapping out a project, and tirelessly reviewing every design decision and detail to make sure all the needs were integrated,” Sutherland says.

“They spent hours poring over plans and making sure every plug was at the right spot and that every lab bench would be functional and a good space to work.”

The Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science team, headed by Guy Gosselin, was also heavily involved, mapping out the needs for the entirely new Department of Chemical and Materials Engineering.

“Not an easy task in the best of circumstances, but add the time-sensitive nature of the project to the mix and there you have the miracle of the Hub second floor,” Sutherland says.

The team from the District 3 Innovation Hub also worked to assert the needs of a space that would be completely new to the university, where startups could exist next to research labs.

Finally, the Office of the Registrar helped define the needs — such as seating configuration and capacity — to create a beautiful 150-seat auditorium to serve the Loyola Campus community.

 

The steering committee

Behind the scenes, the steering committee oversaw critical decisions throughout the past four years.

“They guided the project and led it through the complex government approval processes and difficult program decisions, explaining and supporting the project to senior Board of Governors members along the way,” says Sutherland.

“A special heartfelt thank you goes to my VP through these four years, Roger Côté, who was always supportive and solution-minded.”

 

Looking to the future

Sutherland says the dedication of the people who helped build the Applied Science Hub is something she won’t forget. Now she’s excited to see what comes of all the hard work.

“This Hub has begun to take on a life of its own, and the researchers and entrepreneurs who will call it home will be able to make it shine even brighter.”

WATCH: A 70-second, five-floor visit of the LEED Gold-certified Applied Science Hub, the fourth high-performance green building at Concordia, whose footprint also includes a public sculpture by renowned Quebec City artist Marc-Antoine Côté


Do you want to thank the team behind Concordia’s new Applied Science Hub? Leave a message below.
 

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