Since the University of Lethbridge first announced the Destination Project in 2013, we’ve said: “We’re imagining possibilities; we are being bold in our thinking; we are thinking about science not for today, but 50 years from now.”

One visionary donor, alumnus Dr. Michael Fiorino (BSc ’78), a medical doctor in Edmonton, Alta., began imagining possibilities long before.

On a note clipped to a donation cheque to the U of L, Fiorino included this message: “Direct this to where it matters most. Personally, I would like it to go towards a science building fund.”

The year was 2004.

“As a U of L student, I saw the original concept model of University Hall, which extended north well beyond where it is today,” says Fiorino. “I remember thinking how much the students and faculty members would benefit from the devoted space, and how a science facility would advance research at the University and really benefit the entire community.”

Opening in the Fall of 2019, the new Science and Academic Building is a place for community engagement and outreach; a place with innovation laboratories where undergraduate and graduate research opportunities develop; where knowledge moves from the lab to industry; a place that fosters the next generation of researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders.

A key theme guiding the planning process was transdisciplinary research and collaboration.

“We envisioned scientists and researchers working together to share resources and expertise outside of their traditional disciplines to achieve a common scientific goal,” explains Dr. Craig Cooper, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Science. “Research benefits from different perspectives, different approaches. Students learn from and appreciate the value of work done by other disciplines, creating well-rounded individuals. It benefits students and researchers by allowing them to place their work in a greater context.”

The new Science and Academic Building allows faculty to more easily incorporate modern teaching methodologies into evolving curriculums. It aims to enhance and support entrepreneurship through the training of students in leading-edge teaching and research laboratories and will provide high quality space to foster industry collaboration and potentially the development of new companies.

The building is transformational, the largest construction project to take place on campus since the original construction of University Hall. It will shape the future of the University of Lethbridge and southern Alberta for generations to come.

Imagine the possibilities — yes... Soon they'll be a reality.