News Release

REF NO.: 110

SUBJECT: Consultation announced for Memorial's Battery facility

DATE: April 24, 2014

Memorial University is pleased to announce that information sessions and stakeholder meetings are being planned to inform people of Memorial’s plans for the former Battery Hotel facility, and to gather input on programming and partnership opportunities.
 A conceptual design of the Battery facility has been developed – a vision for the space as a public engagement hub to facilitate university-community collaboration, while also accommodating several university outreach offices and much-needed residential space for graduate students.
“The conceptual plan for the Battery facility was developed through an extensive visioning process,” said Dr. Gary Kachanoski, president and vice-chancellor. “This facility represents an unprecedented opportunity to extend Memorial’s reach and relevance in this province, while also solving critical space issues for our St. John’s campus. It was important for us to ensure that we were incorporating all these elements into the physical redevelopment of the building.”
The conceptual design also outlines a two-phased renovation process. The initial phase will include the renovation of the main building (including the conference/public engagement space), the harbour view wing (southeastern extension), the former hotel tower for graduate student residences and the office tower that overlooks Cabot Avenue. The remainder of the property (including the pool and city view wing) will be considered in the second phase of renovations with input from the upcoming consultation process.
Design packages are now being prepared for the detailed work required for the first phase of renovations. Once contracts are awarded, the interior renovations will begin. Meantime, as part of the ongoing maintenance of the building, replacement of the office tower windows has begun.
During May and June, Memorial will engage in a public consultation process to both share its vision for the facility with the community and to determine ideas for programming and utilization of the main public engagement space, as well as the future utilization and partnership opportunities for the remainder of the property.
“The Battery property is important to this city and we have a strong sense of responsibility to develop it in a way that benefits the city and indeed the whole province,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director of public engagement at Memorial. “It is that end goal that will be top of mind as we proceed with a pan-provincial consultation process. We want this facility to be relevant to the people of the province and to be a bridge between the university and the community, and the best way to do that is talk to people and start sharing our vision and generating ideas.”
A working group, including members of the community and local organizations, has already been engaged on the conceptual design of the building to ensure that the initial phase of renovations provides a platform for public engagement programing opportunities.
“The planned public consultation process is the next step in engaging the public on this exciting project,” said Dr. Greenwood.
Public consultation sessions are planned for Clarenville, Gander, Corner Brook and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, with the St. John’s session scheduled for Thursday, June 12, from 7-9 p.m. at the Johnson GEO CENTRE. Other dates will be announced soon; for more information, visit www.mun.ca/battery.  

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