Botterell renovation nearly $2 million overbudget

Board of Trustees approves budget increase, now $33.8 million 

Construction at Botterell Hall this summer.

Following the recommendation of the Capital Assets and Finance Committee, the Board of Trustees approved a $1.9 million budget increase for the ongoing renovation of Botterell Hall on May 11. 

The budget for the Biomedical Research Facility revitalization—initially $31.9 million—is now $33.8 million.

The excess funding for the project is being sourced from faculty operating reserves, university contingency funds and the office of the Vice-Principal (Research and Innovation)—the project’s sponsor. 

After the Board of Trustees approved the original budget of $31.9 million on July 14, 2016, construction began on the ninth floor of Botterell Hall in November of that year.

The ninth floor renovations, which account for two thirds of the budget, have since been completed.

However, the second focus of the project, the B2 basement, didn’t have a completed design until late 2017.

“Due to market conditions and project complexities, tenders came in higher than anticipated,” Associate Vice-Principal (Facilities), John Witjes, wrote in a statement to The Journal.

“The project team worked with the low bidders to identify several mechanical, electrical, and architectural efficiencies that helped reduce tender costs, but were still left a funding gap of $1.9 million in the project budget,” Witjes wrote.

According to the statement, the low ceiling of the B2 basement proved a challenge when designing the mechanical ventilation system. 

The system design was more complex than expected, making it the largest change of cost from the original budget.

The ventilation system upgrade is one of many renovations required to meet the standards set out by the Canadian Council on Animal Care (CCAC). The CCAC sets the national standards for ethical animal treatment within scientific use. Approval from the CCAC is required to be eligible for federal funding.

“Queen’s Biomedical Research Facility, located in Botterell Hall, supports world-class research in areas such as hemophilia, cancer and neuroscience,” University Veterinarian, Dr. Andrew Winterborn, wrote in a statement to The Journal. 

“A renovation project initiated in 2016 is nearing completion on a series of upgrades including a state-of-the-art rodent care facility, and significant upgrades to building ventilation. These upgrades are designed to advance animal care facilities in Botterell Hall,” Winterborn wrote. 

According to Witjes, in addition to improving research space conditions, the Biomedical Research Facility improvements will eliminate $2 million in existing deferred maintenance issues identified through a facility condition audit of university facilities conducted in 2016.

Equipment in use prior to the renovation also requires more water and electricity than equipment now available. By replacing the outdated parts, the project should result in operational savings.

The need for additional funding and Board approval hasn’t delayed the project which is still scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2018.

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