Ring Houses Update

The University of Alberta is pleased to announce the sale and relocation of the four Ring Houses.

With the aim of preservation and community experience in mind, Primavera Development Group has purchased all four buildings, plus two houses from East Campus Village.

We anticipate the relocation of the houses to begin in Spring 2022. After the houses are removed in the spring, the north-west corner of the U of A’s North Campus will be returned to green space while the university considers any future development.

We extend our thanks to all those who showed interest in preserving the Ring Houses.

Background

The University of Alberta campuses are an ever-changing landscape, adapting as the research, teaching and learning needs of our community evolve. With so many buildings on our campuses, ranging from simple offices to complex research facilities, it's critical that investments are made in support of continued excellence in education and research.

The U of A has a long-term strategy to manage our extensive grounds and structures with a focus on our core mission, reducing reliance on leased space, and appropriate renewal of buildings. Our Integrated Asset Management Strategy (IAMS) enables the university to be fiscally responsible stewards of public funding and guides investments in our infrastructure.

Given their size and purpose-built design as individual family dwellings, it was determined that the Ring Houses no longer provided adequate space for modern teaching, research, or work activities. As a result, the houses began to be decommissioned in 2019.

In February 2021, the university shared that houses would be decommissioned and made available for purchase and relocation. On September 22, 2021, the Primavera Development Group announced that they would be relocating the houses to fulfill a new community-minded vision in spring 2022.

Common Questions

How much were the houses sold for?

The houses themselves were sold for $1 each. The costs of removal and relocation are the responsibility of the new owner.

When will the houses be moved?

The houses are currently scheduled for relocation in Spring 2022.

What are the future plans for the land?

Once the site has been cleared, it will be converted into a green space. No further plans have been made for the site at this time.

The Office of the University Architect engages with groups on campus to develop interim-use plans when possible that benefit the community. Any permanent development plans are guided by the university’s Long Range Development Plan and supporting sector plans.

A landscape plan will be developed as the removal nears completion. Some shrubs and bushes may be disturbed, but the majority of mature trees are not expected to be impacted. If any trees are removed, new saplings will be planted on campus.

Will the public be able to visit and/or tour the houses before their relocation?

For safety reasons, access to the houses will be limited to construction and planning personnel, therefore no visits or tours are permitted. Passers-by will soon see fencing around the houses as they are prepared for their new location.

How will the university commemorate the houses and their history?

The stories of the Ring Houses will always be part of the University of Alberta’s story. More information about plans for commemorating the Ring Houses will be available in 2022.

Why didn’t the U of A restore the houses?

The Ring Houses were built as single family homes in the early 1900s and served that purpose well for many years. When they were no longer required for residential purposes, the university tried to find other uses ranging from offices to event space to even a daycare. However, these actions were met with limited success.

To restore the houses to their original state would mean returning them to residential use. However, residences of this nature and in this location would not serve the institution’s teaching and research activities. Our priority is to exclusively support buildings that are capable of serving the institution’s teaching and research activities in the decades to come.

What public consultation occurred prior to the decision to decommission the Ring Houses?

While we are happy to engage the broader community on aspects such as land use, decisions about buildings are made exclusively by the university. As unanimously approved by the Board of Governors in June 2019, the Integrated Asset Management Strategy (IAMS) guides all decision making by the university in this regard.

As decisions related to the Ring Houses were made, members of the university community were informed through updates to the Board of Governors, the General Faculties Council, President’s Executive Committees, and the Deans’ Council. Multiple community town halls have been held, the most recent taking place in February 2021, which included updates on how the IAMS strategy is being applied on campus. Members of the surrounding communities were also informed.

Rigorous planning and consistent assessment of our infrastructure is a key component of IAMS, and this decision was not made lightly or without deep consideration of alternatives. Unfortunately, delaying this decision would have resulted in further, unsustainable losses to the university.