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Design in the works for Barnett House addition

February 23, 2016 Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor
This rendering shows a potential expansion of Barnett House through the construction of an eight-storey addition on the south side of the existing Seymour Tower.

Design work is underway for a planned addition to Barnett House that would extend the building’s eight-storey portion southward.

Last fall Provincial Executive Council formed a committee to look into the potential expansion of the Edmonton headquarters of the Alberta Teachers’ Association, due mainly to the increased space needs of the Alberta Teachers’ Retirement Fund (ATRF).

To date, the committee has chosen an architect (Workun Garrick, which handled the most recent renovation that concluded in 2011) and has also decided that the physical appearance of the addition will be designed to match the existing portion of Seymour Tower (the tall part of Barnett House).

The plan is to demolish the portion of the building where the auditorium now sits and replace it with an eight-storey tower that attaches to the south side of the existing tower.

“We’re doing it step by step. The first step is to get the building designed, and we’ve decided what it looks like,” said executive secretary Gordon Thomas.

The architect is currently working on detailed drawings with the intention of filing for a development permit with the City of Edmonton. If that proceeds, the Association will seek a long-term lease agreement with ATRF. If that occurs, there would be no further impediments to building, Thomas said.

“The committee is authorized to make arrangements for financing or to make other decisions about how best to proceed,” he said, noting that the Association’s financial resources include a building fund that contains more than $6 million and a $20 million special emergency fund.

“There are multiple internal sources of funding that will allow us to make progress on this building,” he said.

Since parking is already in short supply at Barnett House, the project would also include the addition of a third level to the existing parkade. It was originally thought that the existing parkade would have to be demolished and replaced, since it wasn’t designed to allow for expansion, but the architects now believe that a third level can be added as a free-standing deck-like structure with its own footings. ❚

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