Important updates on New School of Nursing Building: Changes to Westwood Avenue

In February, Acadia joined the Government of Nova Scotia in an exciting announcement to build an on-campus nursing training facility, bringing us one step closer to establishing Acadia’s Nursing program.  This is very good news for our university and for our greater community. There are few people in the Valley who would deny that there’s a serious demand for more healthcare practitioners in our area, and producing Nursing graduates right here in Wolfville is expected to improve upon this critical community need.  

With Nursing students already taking courses at Acadia, the timeline to build this new facility is short. As soon as we felt an announcement was forthcoming, our teams began consulting with different planners and experts to determine the best possible paths for making this training centre a reality. Among the many considerations is its physical location.

ASSESSING ACADIA’S PHYSICAL SPACE OPTIONS

Several factors had to be incorporated in the decision, including the anticipated initial and future needs of the facility, constructability, environmental and sustainability concerns, disruptions to campus life and operations, and capital costs. At minimum, we determined the home for the School of Nursing required:

  • Office space for up to 25 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) staff;
  • Four dry lab clinic teaching spaces of 1500 sq. ft. each;
  • Simulation rooms with adjacent control (observation) rooms;
  • Canadian Association of Schools of Nursing standards for lab and simulation space;
  • Program space to accommodate 63 students over a three-year period and the potential scale-up toward 200 students over that same three-year period.

Among those we engaged in our analysis was Colliers Project Leaders (Colliers). Considering the many factors and the existing sites on campus, Colliers provided qualitative and financial breakdowns for four possible build options:
Option 1: Link between Biology Building and Patterson Hall
Option 2: New building between 11 and 17 Westwood Avenue, which would first involve the demolition of those structures
Option 3: New addition to south of Emmerson Hall
Option 4: New building on Acadia Street

IDENTIFYING THE BEST OPTION

It is Colliers’ opinion – in which we agree – that Option 2 (building at 11 and 17 Westwood Avenue) is the most feasible option for the following reasons:

  • This will allow Acadia to deliver a future state-of-the-art standalone Nursing Program;
  • It has the second lowest capital investment required;
  • Access to geo-thermal line behind building is available to tie-into and lowers construction costs;
  • This location was previously identified as a site for a Science Academic Building through the 2001 Campus Master Plan.
  • The construction would eliminate the deferred maintenance, accessibility, and efficiency issues of the two existing buildings, which total more than $1,000,000 over the next five years;
  • Disruption to campus life will be minimized compared to the other options;
  • This site promotes collaboration and a sense of community amongst students in the academic programs by investing in the Sciences Quadrant;
  • Street access makes it accessible for construction vehicles and trucks to enter and exit the site;
  • An estimated completion by Fall 2026 is viable;
  • There will be future flexibility to increase program capacity from 63 to 200 students;


ACKNOWLEDGING THE IMPORTANCE OF 17 WESTWOOD AVE

The building at 11 Westwood was formerly used for Dr. Phil Taylor’s Research Program. Since Dr. Taylor’s retirement, the site has been used for temporary storage and office activities. Our teams will ensure that those who have been using this location will be fully assisted in relocating their materials and securing a more permanent location to conduct work.  

The building at 17 Westwood Avenue, sometimes referred to as “The Little Blue House Behind Huggins”, has been a long-time gathering spot for the University Club (U-Club). Serving as a physical place for Acadia’s social group for current and past faculty, staff, and alumni members to gather, the Little Blue House holds decades of memories, and will be missed.  

While the physical space will have to be reassigned for the creation of this new building, Acadia University is committed to ensuring the historical, sentimental, and social value of the U-Club is preserved as much as possible. Working with the U-Club membership, we hope the new space can serve as an even better location for decades to come. This is a priority of this project.


UPGRADING GODFREY HOUSE: THE NEW PROPOSED HOME FOR THE U-CLUB

Within the heart of Acadia’s campus is Godfrey House, an ideal symbolic and logistical future home for the U-Club once upgraded. In addition to its prime position on campus, this location also offers the benefits of green space for outdoor use, the potential for improved access to the Axe Lounge and patio areas, and a reduction in noise concerns from nearby residential neighbours.  

Acadia University plans to make several upgrades for Godfrey House that will allow for current and expanded U-Club activities. This includes:

  • Improved accessibility: A new ground floor entrance system and tactile signage will be installed
  • New roof: Standing Seam metal roof is being quoted to match Bancroft House
  • New windows: Replace all windows with energy star rated windows and repair fascia and trims  
  • Air sealing and insulation upgrades: Attic and basement insulation upgrades with air sealing
  • Electrical upgrade: Upgrade from 100A to 200A panel to support future heat pump upgrade which we are targeting for most academic houses with support from Efficiency NS 

NEXT STEPS

While dates are still being finalized, it is expected that 11 and 17 Westwood would need to be emptied during the Fall of 2024. Starting in January 2025, demolition efforts will begin, with a strong focus on salvaging recyclable and reusable materials to divert them from landfills. We expect to break ground for the new construction of the School of Nursing building in April 2025, with a target of opening the facility in Fall 2026.  

Improvements to Godfrey House are planned to take place this summer and fall, pending contractor availability. People currently occupying Godfrey House will be relocated to permanent homes ahead of the construction.  

Our goal is that the U Club will be able to move into the improved Godfrey House in January 2025.  

We look forward to providing more updates on the advancements in this exciting project in the near future.

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Media Contact

Robyn McBain
Director, Marketing and Communications
media.relations@acadiau.ca
902-585-1705