Q & A: Barnett House renovation on track

January 16, 2018
Gordon Thomas, ATA Executive Secretary

Question: How’s the renovation project going at Barnett House?

Answer: The renovation project is going well. The Alberta Teachers’ Association currently has no additional office space available, and most of our meeting rooms are leased to the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF) to provide for its space needs. The Association has signed a 10-year lease with ATRF, which currently occupies floors five and six of Seymour Tower (the tall part of Barnett House).

Once the renovation is complete, the space leased by ATRF will increase dramatically, with the organization taking the new space on those floors and half of the current space on the fourth floor, releasing the meeting rooms they are currently leasing on the second floor. Effectively, the equivalent of half of the newly constructed space will be taken by ATRF.

We will be relocating our Information Technology Services staff so the second floor of Seymour Tower will be devoted to meeting rooms, increasing our catering capacity. We anticipate relocating senior Association staff to the south end of the eighth floor, allowing for the relocation of other staff to vacant spaces on this floor, where we will also be consolidating our research staff, as well as staff working on professional regulatory matters.

An additional level is being added to the Barnett House parkade, and the work there is now largely done. The parkade is made up of precast concrete, so there’s been a steady supply of trucks carrying large concrete pieces, and a crane has lifted these pieces into place. Upon completion, the parkade will be able to hold almost 500 vehicles.

The expansion project, with PCL as the general contractor, is scheduled for completion in May 2018. The total cost of the expansion of Barnett House, the substantial work to the parkade and the remaining renovation to the existing floors of Barnett House is in the range of $26 million. With the help of our capital fund and our growing membership base, we are able to handle these costs, but a mortgage will be required.

The entire project is overseen by the Committee on the Renovation and Expansion of Barnett House, which includes (among others) five members of Provincial Executive Council, and is chaired by district representative Paul Froese. ❚

Questions for consideration in this column are welcome. Please address them to Gordon Thomas at Barnett House (gordon.thomas@ata.ab.ca).