Taking a closer look at the GIE building site

The GIE building will house Laurier's School of Business and Economics. (Photo by Will Huang)
The GIE building will house Laurier’s School of Business and Economics. (Photo by Will Huang)

Wilfrid Laurier University’s  grand Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) building is well under way, as construction has got off to a smooth start.

The tender was awarded to Bonfield Construction back in May, who started forming the base structure this past June.

“Right now we’re working on foundations and site works,” explained Mark Dettweiler, the director of planning, design and construction of Laurier physical resources.

“Mostly extrications, forming and pouring concrete.”

Dettweiler, who was largely involved in the planning and design of the new GIE building, is ecstatic to see the project come together.

He walked The Cord through blueprints of the GIE building and offered the opportunity to tour the construction site.

“The contract is the date of substantial completion, which right now is June 30 2015,” he said. “So approximately two years.”

His goal is to occupy the new GIE building by the fall 2015 term.

“It’s a pretty tight schedule,” he admitted.

The $103-million project is taking over the previous St. Michael’s Campus and will be the new home for Laurier’s Business and Economics faculty. The building will feature an atrium, a 1,000-person lecture hall, a café, and a unique classroom sloping off of the building.

However, for the size of the building, even with the contractors being finished in June, 2015, Dettweiler thinks that moving faculty members and classrooms will take longer than expected.

Once Laurier’s Business and Economics faculty makes the move, the arts faculty will occupy the current Schlegel Centre.

“Certainly taking over the offices,” Dettweiler said. “The classrooms were really just a shared resource [and] arts is out of space in the Dr. Alvin Woods Building (DAWB), so we’re having ideas that their faculty will take over the current business building.”

Dettweiler also mentioned that the Schlegel Centre would undergo minor renovations and updates once the GIE building has been completed.

He has not commented on whether the Schlegel Centre will be renamed once the arts faculty occupies it.

However, as of now, the only progress that the GIE building has experienced is strictly structural.

Come winter, Dettweiler explained that Bonfield will switch to “winter construction techniques.”

“What you’ll see different, [if] they’re still working on foundation, is that they would start to insulate the forms and bring in some heat.”

“We’re not taking the winter off,” he promised.

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