Curious about Signal Hill Campus? Here are some answers to the most frequently asked questions:
Q: What is located at Memorial’s Signal Hill Campus?
Q: Where do I park to attend an event at Signal Hill Campus?
Q: Why did Memorial decide to undertake the development of Signal Hill Campus?
Q: Are the facilities at Signal Hill Campus open for public bookings?
Q: How does the Signal Hill Campus affect Memorial University’s finances?
Q: Do the guest accommodations and conference facilities at Signal Hill Campus compete with the private sector?
Q: Why are public engagement and innovation such important aspects of Signal Hill Campus?
Q: What is Memorial doing to be a good neighbour within the Signal Hill/Battery communities?
Signal Hill Campus includes conference and meeting facilities, space for Memorial units and public partners (Genesis, the Gardiner Centre, the Harris Centre, the Office of Public Engagement, the Newfoundland Quarterly, the Memorial University Pensioners Association (MUNPA), and Business and Arts NL) and a number of bookable public convening areas, along with accommodations that have housed graduate students and Memorial guests since 2015.
Please see here for more information about visiting Signal Hill Campus and what transportation options are available for our visitors.
When the old Battery Hotel went up for sale in 2012, Memorial University President Gary Kachanoski immediately saw it as a potential opportunity.
The university was dealing with a significant space crunch, which meant that a number of units were paying for significant off-campus leases. Consultations with graduate student groups had also suggested a lack of available Memorial graduate student housing. Finally, both public engagement and innovation were, and are, strong areas of strategic priority for the university, figuring strongly in both Memorial’s historic relationship with the people and organizations of this province, and in Memorial’s plans for the future. The acquisition of the property, though needing siginificant renovations, addressed all these issues.
The conference facilities are primarily intended for Memorial users and for organizations that have existing partnerships with Memorial or that are actively developing relationships with the university for the purpose of advancing society and economic prosperity.
Any organization or individual can submit a request to book the facilities, but events where a diverse set of stakeholders is coming together in the spirit of innovation and public engagement will be prioritized.
There are also many other facilities at Memorial and in St. John’s that are great for convening different types of groups (including private events like weddings.) Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on all bookable university fascilities. You can also see the Destination St. John’s website for details about local facilities and service providers.
The Battery redevelopment project has no impact on the university’s operating budget. Most of the money for the initial purchase of the Battery Facility came from Memorial’s endowment funds. These funds are managed to return yields to the university through investment. In this case, Memorial elected to invest $8.5 million of these funds in this piece of real estate, which has value of its own. The acquisition also helps address a number of operational needs of the university, including office and conference space (some of which is currently leased off campus), public engagement areas and graduate student housing.
The provincial government cabinet and the university's governing Board of Regents approved the university’s expenditure on both the purchase price of $9.5 million and $16.2 million for renovations. The $1 million remainder of the purchase price and the renovation funds were secured through an internal loan from the university’s cash flows. The projected investment yield and renovation costs will be returned to the university through lease avoidance and rental income over time. Once the funds are repaid, the facility will continue to generate revenue that will return to the university.
The Battery Facility has also successfully competed for $8.6 million in incremental funding through targeted federal/provincial programs to support increased convening space and the province-wide connectivity of the facility.
In September 2018, the public engagement and innovation space at Memorial’s new Signal Hill Campus was named the Emera Innovation Exchange. The name recognizes a significant contribution of $7M from Emera Inc., an investment that will support innovation and entrepreneurship programming in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Construction and the project's operations will be cost-neutral to the university. Funding will be provided from redirecting lease expenditures for off-campus space and revenue generated from university activities at the facility.
Do the guest accommodations and conference facilities at Signal Hill Campus compete with the private sector?
We have developed a number of policies that minimize our competition with the private sector.
In the case of guest accommodations, rentals are not being offered to the general public. The rooms are only available for official Memorial guests, including visiting researchers, clients, partners, and/or staff visiting St. John’s Campus from other MUN campuses/sites.
In the case of the conference facilities, our primary focus is on university bookings and bookings related to our public engagement and innovation mandates, especially in cases where a public organization is collaborating with Memorial.
Additionally, the conference facility will not bid on public RFPs and proposals.
Both public engagement and innovation are key priorities for Memorial, as reflected in our vision, including our special obligation to the people of Newfoundland and Labrador, and as executed through our academic mission, including research, teaching & learning, and public engagement.
As we strive to support the success of our province now, and in the decades to come, we believe that public engagement, through partnerships and collaborations with the people and organizations of this province, and innovation, both in the traditional technological sense and in relation to new ideas and ways of working, are crucial to a sustainable future.
After the initial purchase of the old Battery Hotel, Memorial conducted extensive public consultations, including specific sessions for residents of the neighbourhoods surrounding the facility. We have communicated with our direct neighbours throughout the course of the redevelopment of the site, and will continue to do so. In addition, we are currently in the process of developing various councils and committees that will inform life at the Signal Hill Campus, including a neighbourhood council. We are interested in working with local neighbourhood associations and being a respectful and contributing member of our community.