Thompson Rivers University is seeking nearly $7.5 million from the province to complete a major addition and cosmetic overhaul of its oldest building on campus.
The university toured reporters through the first phase of what's intended to be a $19.5-million addition to the Old Main building, notably the waving roofline to the new third and fourth floors.
The first phase cost is $10 million, which will add 42,000 square feet of space on 1 1/2 floors for the university's new law school. The cost also includes new cladding to the exterior of Old Main, covering its utilitarian cinder blocks.
"We're trying to turn this building from a campus eyesore to a provincial icon," said Christopher Seguin, TRU's vice-president of advancement.
At the same time as the addition of 1 1/2 storeys for office, classroom and study space - including a moot court - for 300 students, crews are working to complete renovations to the floors below resulting from damage due to a July rain storm.
That work includes ceiling and walls.
Classes are set to resume Sept. 4. Seguin said crews are going all-out to ensure renovations of damaged areas are complete. If not, some classes may have to be shifted around on campus.
When the university opens for instruction next week, it will also welcome the second cohort of law students, brining the number to 150 or so. But they will not enjoy the curving wooden structural beams, open areas and exterior glass elevator on the top of Old Main for some time.
The university needs to find another $10 million, most of it from a major capital request of $7.4-million from the B.C. Liberal government. The goal is to move the law school into the currently empty space in 12 months.
The request comes as the province moves closer to a spring election next year. Seguin said the city's MLAs are working on the request, which has moved past the early stages.
Drawings and usage plans are now underway for the proposed interior fit-out, which Seguin called a major construction project. The university will seek out private donors for the balance of the price tag.
While the addition and renovation will provide more space to a campus where enrolment is largely flat, the university is intent on building its image as much as space for learning.
Architectural design was a major focus for its recently completed house of learning library building, as it is for this $20-million project.
"We want to use this as a recruitment and retention tool," Seguin said. "It's not only going to be a great place to learn, but to attract people from all over the country.