Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit May 25, 2017 - 8:00 am

Nunavut Arctic College colours fall flat at Iqaluit council

Gray and white addition to Nunatta campus compared to “the inside of a smoker’s lung”

STEVE DUCHARME
An artist's rendering of Nunavut Arctic College's Nunatta campus expansion in Iqaluit (GRAPHIC COURTESY NAC)
An artist's rendering of Nunavut Arctic College's Nunatta campus expansion in Iqaluit (GRAPHIC COURTESY NAC)
Paul Mulak, capital projects director for the GN's community and government services department, left, and Nunavut Arctic College's vice-president, Eric Corneau, appear before Iqaluit city council May 23. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)
Paul Mulak, capital projects director for the GN's community and government services department, left, and Nunavut Arctic College's vice-president, Eric Corneau, appear before Iqaluit city council May 23. (PHOTO BY STEVE DUCHARME)

Iqaluit city councillors made more than a few snarky remarks over a proposed charcoal colour scheme for Nunavut Arctic College’s new Iqaluit campus building during a presentation by designers, May 24.

Construction on the $30-million project, which will vastly expand capacity at NAC’s flagship campus, is expected to begin this summer.

But illustrative analogies to “the inside of a smoker’s lung,” as described by Coun. Simon Nattaq, pointed at a larger issue some councillors had with being cut out of the design stage.

Coordinators from Nunavut Arctic College and the Government of Nunavut’s Department of Community and Government Services made their presentation with only weeks to go before construction on the project is set to begin in mid-June—allowing little room for municipal input.

Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson said the city should have been kept in the loop during the two-year design process, which could have allowed the city and government to coordinate on infrastructure and road access to the expanded campus.

“We would have been better served as council even when the design wasn’t completed,” Stevenson told the CGS’ capital projects director, Paul Mulak, who admitted the presentation was delayed until the project design was finalized.

“[We] hesitated to come forward with a presentation when we knew the design was going to change,” Mulak said.

The sleek, modern design of the new building is said to take inspiration from the surrounding landscape, NAC vice president Eric Corneau told council.

“We steered away from just designing a plain box,” he said.

The two-floor, open concept building will sit alongside the current Nunatta campus building, attached by an enclosed walkway.

The shape and primary colours of the building—charcoal black with tinted white windows—is supposed to resemble a mountain with snow cover, Corneau said, adding that the existing Nunatta building will have its own colours changed to match.

“But the colour sucks,” said Coun. Joanasie Akumalik, who nonetheless still supported the project.

“I still don’t buy the charcoal colour, especially if you’re going to blend it to the other one.”

Mulak told council that the design used one of four colour schemes proposed for the project.

Project co-ordinators will meet with the city’s planning and development department in the coming weeks to address any concerns with the design, Mulak said.

“We don’t have a lot of time but we’ll do what we can,” he said.

While design on the building has been ongoing for two years, the project didn’t fully take off until the federal government committed more than $10 million in funding last November.

That will be added to the roughly $19 million in funding already committed from the GN.

Corneau said the purpose of the building will be almost entirely academic in its focus, with some space allocated for administration.

That means capacity issues for student housing, created after the closure of the Ukkivik residence two years ago, will remain unaddressed by the new facility.

Corneau said the NAC will continue leasing space for its students in nearby housing, and that they just recently closed a request-for-proposals for additional units.

“I expect in the coming years we’re going to be looking at opportunities to expand,” he said.

But, he added, “that’s further down the road.”

Mulak told councillors that the successful bid for building the facility was awarded to Kudlik Construction Ltd., the same company that built the city’s new aquatic centre and is a subcontractor in the soon-to-be-opened airport terminal.

The shape and colour of the NAC expansion in Iqaluit is supposed to evoke a mountain with snow cover, said NAC vice-president Eric Corneau. (GRAPHIC COURTESY NAC)
The shape and colour of the NAC expansion in Iqaluit is supposed to evoke a mountain with snow cover, said NAC vice-president Eric Corneau. (GRAPHIC COURTESY NAC)
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