In 1979-1980, Petro-Canada built a 5-storey, 60,000 square foot research facility situated just across the street from the Engineering Complex. Fifty percent of the facility included wet/dry laboratory space. When the company’s research component relocated to downtown Calgary, the university entered into a 10-year lease agreement, paying $1/year, but assuming the operating costs of the building. Mechanical Engineering moved into the space in 1991.
Petro-Canada donated the building to the university in 2004. At a value of $6.9 million, the gift became the second largest donation in the university’s history.
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Mechanical Engineering also operated an explosives and high pressure research laboratory, located in Ogden, an industrial area in southeast Calgary. Sponsored by Canadian Industries Limited, and located on their premises, the site began operation in August 1970 to test explosive pressures.
The Gazette noted in Februrary 1972: “The firing tank is a cylindrical steel chamber, 30 feet long, 10 feet in diameter and one inch thick. The tank, worth several thousand dollars, was obtained free of charge from the Imperial Oil Company of Calgary. Weighing more than 50 tons, the firing tank’s most expensive feature is a specially constructed door used to contain the fragmentation resulting from explosions. The door was modified using the engine room door and the armour plating from the gun turret of an old frigate which was sold for scrap.”