Tundra design unveiled for Nunavut Arctic College expansion

An expansion at Nunavut Arctic College will be designed to look like the tundra. It was unveiled at Iqaluit city council on Tuesday, where the government was trying to secure a building permit for the facility.

Nunavut Government has aggressive building timeline in place to use $10M in federal funds

A design concept for the expansion of Nunavut Arctic College. The design was unveiled Tuesday at an Iqaluit council meeting. (Community and Government Services)

The design for the expansion of Nunavut Arctic College was unveiled at an Iqaluit city council meeting on Tuesday, where the government was trying to secure a building permit for the expansion, which is on a tight timeline.

With $10 million in federal funding in place until March 2018, the college and the Nunavut government are eager to begin building. The project needed building permits approved in stages because of the aggressive timeline.

"The goal is to sort of have that foundation in place so that by the time the first sealift arrives they can begin to erect the structural steel," said Paul Mulak, director of capital projects for Nunavut's Department of Community and Government Services.

Councillors had mixed reaction to the design. While some liked it, others thought the colours were too dull. Those details can still be negotiated even through council approved the first part of the building permit on Tuesday.

The expansion is set to look like the tundra when it is finished.

"The colouring and everything else is to replicate the mountain, and the windows are actually going to have these white tints to it to replicate the snow," said Eric Corneau, vice president of Nunavut Arctic College, about the design.

The design came from several meetings with community members, elders and personnel at the college.

Through the front doors will be a large open concept meeting area on the main floor.

"This is really going to be the social heart of our building and of the new campus," Corneau said.

The nearby classrooms will open to create a large space that could be used for events like graduation ceremonies. The new wing will also have classroom, study and office space on both the second and third floors.

"The idea is really to create a building that would increase the capacity of the college to deliver our programs," said Corneau.

The expansion is expected to grow the college community by about 270 students and 37 staff, doubling the population.

The $20-million expansion was awarded to a pair of firms last year to design a new 23,000-square-foot building next door to the current Iqaluit campus. The expansion will connect to the existing building by a second floor pedway.