Queen’s Centre excavation to start next year

Buying Clergy Street, moving services take longer than expected

Several months into construction for the Queen’s Centre, the University is behind in building and working to keep the multi-year, multi-million-dollar project on track.

In order to begin excavating Clergy Street, one of the first steps in the construction of the Queen’s Centre, the Universtity must first purchase the street from the city of Kingston.

“We’re just in the final process of getting that wrapped up,” said Andrew Simpson, vice-principal (operations and finance).

Simpson said the University is buying Clergy Street from the city of Kingston for approximately $45,000.

Glen Laubenstein, chief administrative officer of Kingston, said all the approvals are in place for the University’s purchase of Clergy Street.

Once the University has possession of the street, city services--such as sewer, water and gas lines--will be re-located.

Luke Follwell, engineering intern at Utilities Kingston, said a company contracted by Queen’s will relocate the services, with Utilities Kingston inspecting the work.

“We’re in the approval process at the moment, so once Queen’s has the necessary approvals and we have approvals from the Ministry of Environment [work will begin],” he said.

Pat Caulfield, Queen’s Centre project manager, said despite a delay in acquiring the street from the city, construction for the Queen’s Centre is pretty much on schedule.

“The houses have been demolished. The Curling Club is almost moved out, so it’ll be demolished shortly,” he said. “I think the excavation for the building will start early in the new year.”

“I think the primary delay is we would have liked to do more of the service relocation in the summer,” Caulfield said.

Simpson said a new construction contract will hopefully help make up for the missed time so that Phase I of the Centre will be completed on schedule by fall 2009.

“We’re working on a slightly different method of procuring the construction contract,” he said. “What we’re looking at is more of a construction management approach, whereby we would hire the lead contract manager, who will then work with all the subcontractors, potentially issuing requests for proposals from individual tradespeople.” Simpson said the University was advised that such a method would be cheaper than hiring a single contractor for the entire project.

“The financial risk to [single contractors] is enormous, particularly when doing large projects,” he said.

Simpson said the construction management approach should help keep the project within budget.

“In our budget, we had allowed … escalation through the 10-year period, but what we’re being advised is that current inflation in the industry is running ahead of what we originally planned,” he said.

Caulfield said the University is currently in the process of putting out the request for proposals from construction managers and hopes to have the construction management firm retained by early November.

David McCart, manager of strategic initiatives, is responsible for design and implementation of fundraising for the Queen’s Centre. Of the project’s $230 million expected budget, McCart said, $130 million is to come from private fundraising. This includes corporate and individual donations.

McCart said he developed a plan in which for every dollar donated, the University will raise a dollar to match it.

“We have identified five to six alumni who … have the ability to commit a total of $65 million,” he said.

McCart said they have already received an anonymous $5 million gift, and are hoping to hear from other alumni soon.

McCart said they are actively pursuing alumni who have been supportive of the University in the past, and who have the capacity to be generous philanthropically.

“At the same time, and probably of equal importance, we are spending a great deal of time meeting with new alumni who we feel would be interested in supporting Queen’s, but have never been engaged,” McCart said. In order to identify such individuals, he said, they review alumni lists for individuals whose jobs would suggest they may have philanthropic capacity.

McCart said donors will be offered the opportunity to be formally recognized within the Queen’s Centre, by having a room named after them, for example.

In addition to individual contributions, the University is also hoping to form partnerships with corporations for donations on a smaller scale.

Ray Satterthwaite, associate vice-principal, advancement, is in charge of the Queen’s Partnership Program.

“What we’re looking to do is find companies who have an interest in partnering with the Queen’s Centre,” he said.

Satterthwaite said the University is looking to partner with corporations in finance, media, athletics and recreation, electronics and technology fields.

He said the University is not goking to give naming rights to any corporations but is instead looking to provide visibility within the facility.

He said the type of visibility will depend on what the company is interested in and what the University can do.

“It could be business interaction, if there’s an interest in promoting their services, we would discuss that.”

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