Putting the final touches on Mitchell Hall

Putting the final touches on Mitchell Hall

Students, staff, and faculty will get access to the newest building on campus in time for exams.

By Phil Gaudreau

October 17, 2018


[Queen's University Mitchell Hall Innovation and Wellness Centre]
The eastern entrance bears the name of the building's lead donor. (University Relations)

This fall, Mitchell Hall, formerly known as the Innovation and Wellness Centre, opens its doors to students, faculty, and staff, offering up new and refreshed resources to the Queen’s community.

“We are eagerly looking forward to the opening of Mitchell Hall, as this will be a signature building for Queen’s and a powerful catalyst for growth and change in the lives of our students and faculty,” says Tom Harris, Interim Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic). “Our top priorities are to complete this highly complex project and to ensure that we realize its full potential as a space that supports leading education and research, interdisciplinary innovation and entrepreneurial activities, and responsive health and wellness services.”

Construction began on Mitchell Hall in 2016 with the demolition of sections of the former Physical Education Centre (PEC). That fall, the provincial and federal governments announced their support for the project, and the lead contractor EllisDon was able to begin bringing the new centre to life.

Mitchell Hall was designed to combine key elements of campus life under one roof, and an ambitious goal like that means the opening will be completed in phases to minimize disruption.

In a first for Queen’s, a new Examination Centre will open in time for December exams. This new centre will support the growing number of students requiring exam accommodations, and will include private and semi-private writing spaces. The building’s three gymnasiums, including one which has been moved to the lower floor, will reopen for exams.

Starting in January, students will be able to take advantage of new modern spaces for several student services, including the Queen’s University International Centre, Faith and Spiritual Life, and Student Community Relations that are all moving from the John Deutsch University Centre. In addition, the Gregory David and Neil Rossy Health Promotion Hub will open in a new space on the main floor of the building.

Also beginning in January, varsity student athletes will gain access to a High Performance Varsity Training Centre. Athletes and intramural enthusiasts alike will also enjoy the three refreshed gyms that will re-open for recreational use in the new year.

The Côté Sharp Student Wellness Centre will open in May; for the remainder of the academic year, Student Wellness Services will continue to operate in the Lasalle Building on Stuart Street.

The university will be introducing the Rose Innovation Hub within Mitchell Hall, featuring co-working space, an events commons, and a full makerspace with tools and equipment to support prototyping. The Rose Innovation Hub will also be the new home of the Dunin-Deshpande Queen’s Innovation Centre whose mandate is to support student and community entrepreneurs. 

On the academic side, the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science has developed new technology-enabled active learning classrooms that will come online in January, along with new research space for the Beaty Water Research Centre. The Institute for Disruptive Technologies will be formally unveiled in March. This new Institute is focused on the design and use of intelligent systems and robotic machines to enhance human productivity, creativity, safety and quality of life.

An official opening event to recognize the donors and celebrate the building’s completion is planned for March 2019.

"With the support of our donors, it is a thrill to look ahead and see the university’s vision for this new building come to fruition,” says Karen Bertrand, Vice-Principal (Advancement). “We thank all those who have supported the creation of this leading-edge centre.”

To meet these dates, the facilities team is working closely with CS&P Architects and EllisDon to mitigate some challenges around labour shortages and material deliveries affecting many Ontario infrastructure projects.

“The renovation of a 1930s building into a striking facility in such a compressed time frame would not have been possible without significant effort by all involved from the initial concept to where we are today,” says Donna Janiec, Vice-Principal (Finance and Administration). “This is a complex project and we thank all stakeholders for their contributions and support.”

Located at the corner of Union and Division on the former site of the Physical Education Centre, Mitchell Hall was made possible through over $50 million in philanthropic support. An additional $22 million was contributed by the federal and Ontario governments.

To learn more about Mitchell Hall, visit queensu.ca/connect/mitchell.

Smith Engineering