Optimizing Our Campus Spaces: Spotlight on Enterprise Square

An exciting first floor renovation has just begun at Enterprise Square, with an eye to transform this U of A location into a reinvigorated centre for community connection.


Our last campus facility spotlight offered a sneak peek inside Dentistry/Pharmacy Centre, our largest capital project underway on North Campus, set for completion in 2023. This month we are turning the spotlight over to U of A’s downtown campus. An exciting first floor renovation has just begun at Enterprise Square, with an eye to transform this U of A location into a reinvigorated centre for community connection.

Enterprise Square is located on Jasper Avenue and stretches between 102 Street and 103 Street. Formerly the Hudson’s Bay building, it’s just four blocks from the river valley, where funicular and numerous trails for biking and walking allow staff a place to enjoy nature on their breaks. Enterprise Square is conveniently connected right into the LRT system (Bay/Enterprise Square Station) so staff can easily make the necessary work trips to North and South Campus for free using their ONEcard (South Campus station all the way to Kingsway/Royal Alex station). 

A purposeful space to support the U of A for tomorrow

As the University of Alberta prepares for the future, we must realize two important objectives—optimizing our spaces and building a supportive work environment. The strategies that respectively guide these factors are the university’s Integrated Asset Management Strategy (IAMS) and the U of A for Tomorrow (UAT). IAMS is the roadmap that allows us to think differently about our campus spaces. The strategy guides us in containing our expansive and expensive footprint by utilizing our existing spaces more efficiently, so we spend fewer resources on leasing spaces we don’t own, thereby reducing operation and maintenance costs.

The vision for Enterprise Square has always been a place to bring people together and serve their needs but there are areas that have become under-utilized. When the campus community begins to return to campuses to work, Enterprise Square will once again become active with teams providing instrumental support to the entire institution. The first floor renovations will introduce open, flexible spaces, kitchens and multipurpose areas to support collaboration and community support.

Optimized for collaboration

The updates to Enterprise Square will allow integral support units to work together under one roof in a way they haven’t before, while activities on North Campus will focus on academic and student support services.

One area we’re excited to showcase is a large, glass-enclosed common work lounge and kitchen located right in the main floor atrium. This multipurpose space will support collaboration and flexible working arrangements and can be used for casual meetings and special events.

Staff can work collaboratively in comfortable spaces in the work lounge.
*Final result may not look exactly as shown in the rendering.
Inset tables and seating allow for smaller groups.
*Final result may not look exactly as shown in the rendering.
Open concept space for large gatherings and for staff to enjoy breaks.
*Final result may not look exactly as shown in the rendering.

On the same level you’ll also find shared meeting rooms of all sizes, separate from the workstations on the upper levels. This means fewer interruptions to your day as well as improved security. The design team is working now to finalize architectural details and finishes and you can expect to hear more as the work progresses this summer.

Creating campus community 

UAT is reimagining how we work to collectively focus on the university’s core mission of excellence in teaching, research and community engagement. Through SET transitions, new teams will be forming over the summer and ultimately coming together physically (once safe to do so) in more adaptive and purposeful campus spaces.

Those who move to Enterprise Square will become stewards of the building and contribute to the vibrant neighbourhood in which it is located. The downtown community will benefit from our campus spirit at a time where it is needed most, as downtown Edmonton also begins to recover from closures during the pandemic.

Occupants who will initially join this new space include members of the SET team and staff  in the new Shared Services unit. You can learn more about the vision for Shared Services in a recent article from the new Associate Vice-President, Ria Ames. Although remote work continues as we navigate the pandemic, staff can expect to transition back to our campuses in phases between August 2021 and January 2022.

A building readiness committee is currently in place to support new and upcoming occupants of Enterprise Square, with several subcommittees supporting the eventual increase in number of staff in this building. The committees are developing an orientation plan, welcome package and brainstorming how to build a strong community and positive culture downtown.

Stay tuned for more updates this summer in the The Quad.