Two new residences built especially to house third and fourth year undergraduate and graduate students were opened on 16 September 2015 with a sand ceremony. The ceremony involved pouring vials of brightly coloured sand in a variety of hues into a common vessel to celebrate the symbolic blending of the two new buildings with the entire university community.
Aurora Hall was designed to accommodate 268 students in two and three-bedroom suites incorporating full kitchens and bathrooms. It is linked to the other undergraduate residences, the Dining Centre and the Residence Services Information Desk by an existing system of tunnels. The building was named for a mountain located in the Blue Range of the Canadian Rockies, in keeping with the university’s history of naming its residences based on features of the Rocky Mountains.
Crowsnest Hall accommodates 390 graduate students in one and two-bedroom apartments with full kitchens and private bathrooms. Also included in the building are an academic project room, study rooms, a music room, a multipurpose room and an event kitchen. Crowsnest Hall was named for Crowsnest Pass which links Alberta and British Columbia, and which was the first passage built through the Rock Mountain range.
At the official opening of the buildings President Elizabeth Cannon said “This is an important milestone in the history of the University of Calgary. With the addition of two new buildings, we have physically enhanced the image of our campus and supported our Eyes High strategic plan by improving graduate student housing, providing more alternatives for international students, and by creating supportive infrastructure which features more housing choices on campus.”
Both buildings were designed to achieve LEED Gold Certification in keeping with the University of Calgary’s commitment to sustainability. They produce only half of the CO2 of the average student residence building in Canada; will reduce the personal green house gas footprint of every student living in them by more than 4 tonnes; and will have 40% lower energy costs than conventional buildings.