On-site construction to begin this month

SignThe golden shovels hit the dirt on Aug. 19, beginning construction of Mount Royal University's (MRU) new Riddell Library and Learning Centre (RLLC).

This facility — which university officials hope becomes the intellectual heart and soul of the university — is slated to open in early 2017.

Along with breaking ground at the Aug. 19 ceremony, the building's design concept was unveiled at the location of the new library on Richard Road S.W., across the street from MRU's new Conservatory and the Bella Concert Hall.

Mount Royal University's President David Docherty says it is an exciting time on campus because it "marks a beginning and an end." He said the ground-breaking marks the beginning of construction of a new facility and the end of phase one of the campus master plan.

"This centre at the corner of Mount Royal's community campus will inspire lifelong learning in all Calgarians," says Docherty. "The Riddell Library will be open to the public, alumni, local community members, students and faculty of other post-secondary institutions as well as our primary users Mount Royal students, faculty and staff.

"It will be a cultural institute for all Calgarians to enjoy and it will be the host venue for lectures, speakers and presentations. Even though we are on one side of campus it will be the intellectual heart of Mount Royal University."

The total cost for the RLLC is close to $100 million. The province is covering the lion's share ofMRURiddellLibraryThis is an artist’s impression of how the Riddell Library and Learning Centre will look like at Mount Royal University once it opens in early 2017. The library will be a stand-alone building that features a variety of different features and spaces that will aid students and faculty in their learning and teaching.

Photo courtesy of Mount Royal University
the costs at $86 million. The Riddell family donated some funds but the amount has not been disclosed. The facility is named after the Riddells, a prominent local family that has ties to the oil and gas industry along with having a stake in the Calgary Flames.

The construction process gets underway this month.

Library Features:

Mount Royal's current library was built in 1972 and only has enough seats for 600 students. According to building plans for the RLLC, the new facility will accommodate 1,500 students and feature 30 study rooms. The current library has only three study rooms.

Carol Shepstone, the University Librarian says the Riddell Library is a needed addition to the ever-growing campus, which attracts a diversity of students each year.

"The Riddell Library and Learning Centre promises to be an exciting new building for students, faculty and the community," says Shepstone. "It's so necessary to our mission as a university.

"It will enhance Mount Royal's ability to provide exceptional teaching and learning experiences to our students and will further those students and faculty achievements in scholarship."

The RLLC will house the library, student learning services, the academic development centre, START (the Student Technicians and Resource Tutors), the department of education and schooling, the institute for scholarship of teaching and learning, as well as information technology services.

Shepstone adds that the new library will consist of four floors that are each designed to fulfill a different function to help students and faculty engage and interact in new ways with information in its many forms.

"The new facility brings together information resources with the spaces and tools for innovative GroundBreak(From left to right) Tristan Smyth, the Vice President of Academic Affairs, Bryan Pinney, the Vice-chair of Mount Royal’s Board of Governors, Manmeet Bhullar, the Minister of Human Services, Clay Riddell, the Riddell Library namesake donor, David Docherty, Mount Royal University’s President and Carol Shepstone, the University Librarian gathered to break new ground on August 19 for the long awaited Riddell Library and Learning Centre.

Photo by Paulina Liwski
creation and learning," says Shepstone. "It includes a maker's space for hands-on creation so 3D printers and laser cutters, visualization labs to explore and integrate information and of course the media creation suites.

"These are just a few examples of the possibilities for faculty, teaching and students."

The Importance of Libraries:

Tristan Smyth, who serves as MRU's student union's Vice-President of Academic Affairs, says that the Riddell Library and Learning Centre will showcase the passion of learning that the centre represents.

"On this spot, we are not constructing a scholastic enclave tucked away into the corner of a campus but a nexus of possibility and community," says Smyth. "Not a component of student schooling, but a cornerstone of their growth. Not a fixed space, but one which adapts to dynamic needs of Mount Royal."

Docherty stressed that libraries are important in today's society, stating even though libraries have moved away from simply housing important information in books and in archives, they are ultimately helping students foster new ideas and meanings in an effective and quick manner when it comes to doing digital research.

"While libraries themselves have evolved beyond a quite repository for books, the need for students and faculty to have access to timely, relevant and accurate information remains," says Docherty. "Students need a space that is flexible where they can study, think, exchange ideas and create new ones where they can experiment and fail before they succeed.

"The library is where it happens and the Riddell Library and Learning Centre will meet the needs of 21st century students."

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