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From Rented School Rooms to $10 Million in Brick

By Edith Park

Measured by some editorial yardsticks the University of Alberta reached the ultimate in publicity recently. It “made” Time magazine.

A column of space was devoted to the opening of the new branch of the University in Calgary and the winning of the Henry Marshall Tory award by the Banff School of Fine Arts. A stab was made at describing the phenomenal growth of the campus: “from its original rented schoolrooms, the university has expanded into $10 million worth of brick buildings on the landscaped banks of the North Saskatchewan River in southwest Edmonton.”

To be specific, work has now begun on the Engineering Building. A four-storey structure of reinforced concrete and brick, 227 feet long and 72 feet wide, it will be situated directly west of the Medical Building, on the site of the old infirmary. It will face on the great quadrangle and will have a single-storey connection with the present Medical Building. The building will cost $949,000.00 and will accommodate the office of the Dean of Engineering, the Department of Civil Engineering, the Department of Petroleum Engineering, mathematics offices, and laboratories for Civil and Petroleum Engineering. There will be six general classrooms. An unfinished portion is to be eventually used as a drafting room.

Among the wonders of this modern building will be a corridor 227 feet long, in the basement. This will be used for the study of channel flow. Eventually it is proposed to make the channel 300 feet long. Believed to be the longest of its kind in Canada, the channel will be used to study the laws of water and aspects of river flow.

In the Hydraulics Laboratory students will make models of river beds in the course of experiments on the problems of irrigation. In the Structural Laboratories there will be four new machines for testing stress on concrete, steel and other structural materials. A Soils Laboratory will study soil structure as distinct from the soil studies carried on by the Soils Department in Agriculture. There will be two small research rooms for studying control of humidity and pressure. Frost conditions will be tested including the problems posed by perma-frost. Tests also will be conducted on heat flow through walls and windows.

Not so long ago it was predicted that one day we would see an oil well on the campus – and now we understand there is actually to be a derrick outside the new Engineering Building. Strictly speaking, we will have to admit, it won’t be a real oil well, but it will be a hole similar to a well, and rigs will be set over it, for the purpose of demonstrating oil drilling procedures to students.

Inside the building the Petroleum Department will have a core laboratory for studying the core obtained from the well. There will also be a fractionating tower 39 feet high, inside the building.

The Engineering Building is expected to be finished by the opening of the 1954 session. The building at present under construction, we are told, is only the first half of the general expansion planned, which will eventually accommodate all branches of the Engineering Faculty. Some time in the future a second section will be erected as large again as the structure we have just described.

Agriculture has long been something of a Cinderella on the campus, having to make do with facilities in the North Lab and in the huts, far from commensurate with its importance in a province such as this. Now tenders have been called for a proposed Biological Building to be erected on the north face of the campus, facing 92nd avenue. It will be in a direct line with the Medical Building and will be built on similar plans.

A four-storey structure, of reinforced brick and concrete, it will be 96 feet high and 152 feet long. It will house the office of the Dean of Agriculture, the Departments of Entomology, Animal Science, Plant Science and Soils, and three general class rooms. The Soils Department will accommodate as well as University staff, the staff of the Research Council and Government Research Department.

The Biological Building will have plenty of large windows to give ample north lighting for work with microscopes. It is proposed in the future to have a large range of greenhouses immediately south of the proposed new Biological Building, to be used by all the departments as well as the Botany Department. This range of new greenhouses would more than double the amount of glass now available for greenhouse purposes. It is hoped that this building will be completed about the same time as the Engineering Building.

A sod-turning ceremony was held for the Dr. John S. McEachern Cancer Research Laboratory on October 20th in conjunction with the Fall Convocation. This laboratory which will cost about $135,000, is being built with funds of the Alberta division of the Canadian Cancer Society. It will actually be the first floor of a future centre wing of the Medical Building. An interesting feature of the building will be air-conditioned rooms required in cancer research.

The new wing of the University Hospital is now completed, having been officially opened on Tuesday, September 4th. This two-and-a-half million dollar addition will raise the bed complement of the hospital to 925, an over-all increase of 408, but a net increase of 308, since 100 beds will be removed in the old section to provide space for other facilities.

The addition has six floors, the same number as in the older unit. The top floor, designated the fourth, since numbering begins after the ground and main floors, is devoted to metabolic medicine, treatment of patients suffering from such ailments as diabetes. As on most floors, there are two visiting rooms or solaria, furnished with comfortable furniture, upholstered in foam rubber. These rooms allow patients and their visitors to enjoy the view and the sun through the section of windows.

Since nurses must advise patients on such matters as dieting, special rooms are provided for this purpose. Because of the nature of the diseases treated on this floor, three biochemical or metabolical laboratories also have been provided.

The four-bed wards, having more conveniences than the usual public wards, are classed as semi-public. All rooms in the hospital are piped for oxygen, used in the event of heart or lung failure, and many also are piped for suction. The semi-public wards are equipped with lockers and washroom facilities. The private and semi-private rooms have clothes closets instead of lockers and the rooms vary in color schemes and curtain designs.

Every chart room is equipped with a specially lighted and ventilated dispensing room, the door of which can be locked when prescriptions are being made up. Each section of the addition has doctors’ offices and examining rooms, as well as a flower room where nurses may attend to the many flowers patients receive.

The third floor is devoted to the treatment of surgical cases, with a special section for neuro-surgical care. In the latter section the rooms are equipped with special beds which can be dismantled rapidly to become stretchers.

Special teaching rooms have been provided so that doctors may speak to interns about patients in privacy, rather than standing with them in the hall.

The second floor is for obstetrics and gynecology, while the first is solely for obstetrics. There are specially-equipped maternity rooms in addition to the delivery rooms. Rooms set aside for the instruction of mothers also have been included. There are nurseries with humidifiers and the temperature is thermostatically con­trolled. Each room has individual air-conditioning.

The children’s wards and rooms for cases involving eye, ear, nose and throat are situated on the main floor. The air in the children’s wards is sterilized and the walls are colorfully and appropriately decorated. Because of the nature of eye, ear, nose and throat operations, most of them not needing elaborate rooms, special, small operating chambers are provided. A class-room for children who are long-term cases also is situated on this floor.

On the ground floor there is a mental reception unit of 20 beds, designed for the care of acute, short-term cases of mental maladjustment. Four rooms have been provided for more disturbed patients.

Also on the ground floor are central food quarters designed for the preparation of private and special diet trays and for their distribution to the entire hospital. This department has fully modern equipment including a conveyor belt for trays, refrigerators, and automatic dish-washing machines. The central surgical supply unit, in which the entire hospital’s equipment is sterilized, with the exception of some operating room supplies, is also located on this floor. The unit has two sterilizers costing six thousand dollars each and one costing two thousand.

There are, as well, two lecture theatres seating 100 and 60 students respectively, for the clinical instruction of students and graduates.

Rounding out the current building boom on the campus is a new $150,000 theological addition going up immediately south of St. Stephen’s College. The funds for this particular building are not supplied by the provincial government but are donated by members and friends of the United Church throughout the province and interested business firms.

A three-storey structure, 68’ x 40’, this impressive unit will provide first class facilities for the training of future United Church ministers. Designed as a purely academic structure it will house a modern library, lecture rooms, transcription room for voice training, stack room and archives, students’ common room, fireproof vault and offices.

On May 31st, 1951, the Rt. Rev. C. M. Nicholson, Moderator of the United Church, officiated at the sod-turning ceremony for this new building which will be completed by the fall of 1952.

Published Fall 1951.

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