Business Showcase

Legendary careSunnybrook Health Sciences Center is expanding its already comprehensive facilities and services. Kate Sawyer investigates. Toronto-based Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center (SHCS) is a forward looking organization, but has a solid legacy of 60 years to stand on while doing so. In almost every discipline, it is regarded as CanadaÔÇÖs beacon for medical excellence, service, and teaching. The past serves as the bedrock for future plans for service and facility expansion. 

Funding a major renewal program at the University of British Columbia requires some creative thinking, Gary Toushek learns from Suzanne PoohkayThe University of British Columbia (UBC) has its main campus on Point Grey, a large peninsula overlooking the Pacific Ocean about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver. A smaller campus, UBC Okanagan, which opened in 2005, is located farther north in Kelowna, with nearly 5,000 full-time students and 260 faculty members. The main campus has 12 faculties of study and 11 schools, with about 36,000 undergrad students, nearly 8,000 graduate students, and 3,200 faculty members. About 60 percent of the buildings on the main campus were constructed during a major expansion 30 years ago, so today the campus is aging, says Suzanne Poohkay, director of facilities and capital planning, ÔÇ£and with inadequate funding, we have a $320 million backlog of deferred maintenance. We have 479 buildings that need renewal.ÔÇØShe doesnÔÇÖt sound pessimistic at all, though; quite the opposite, in fact. SheÔÇÖs been at UBC for 20 years and is trained as an architect. Her department manages the space on campus. Overall, sheÔÇÖs responsible for the planning of institutional buildings, which means making recommendations as to whether old facilities should be renovated or demolished, deciding how renovations should be carried out, and finding the funding. As a public institution, UBC receives $18 million per year from the provincial government to renovate, upgrade and deal with cyclical maintenance; faculty deans list their priorities and the vice president, academic, makes final choices. Renovation for all buildings is driven by UBCÔÇÖs academic plan. Poohkay does the budgeting process for all capital projects and recommends creative funding strategies. Her department manages the data and drawings for Land and Building Services, keeping them updated. It also manages the universityÔÇÖs space inventory in accordance with the provincial governmentÔÇÖs space standards, providing planning, analysis, and data in support of facility planning and development. Facility planners generate options and plans for various groups for small renovations and work with programmers to develop functional programs and feasibility studies for projects of all sizes. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs an interesting and highly political job,ÔÇØ she says.Funding for maintenance and renovations comes from a general-purpose operating budget, via the BC government. ÔÇ£For constructing new buildings, the government is currently tight,ÔÇØ says Poohkay. ÔÇ£A decade ago UBC was able to choose the buildings we needed based on our academic programs. We could proceed, and sometimes weÔÇÖd have matching money from donors and the universityÔÇÖs bond issues, as well as the governmentÔÇÖs contribution. ÔÇ£But when the current government came to power in 2001,ÔÇØ she continues, ÔÇ£it supported targeted projects; for example, the province needed to double the number of doctors being trained, so it gave UBC $110 million for a medical school, and contributed funding to the construction of the Life Sciences Center. It was the governmentÔÇÖs priority, so it became UBCÔÇÖs priority.ÔÇØ Another sum the government provided was $58 million funding for facilities to accommodate doubling the number of computer science and electrical engineering students, according to the provinceÔÇÖs forecast.ÔÇ£The problem with this policy,ÔÇØ says Poohkay, ÔÇ£is that it leaves other academic programs lacking, such as the faculty of law, for example, which needs a new building, so it has to raise funds without the province contributing. Or we have to consider a public-private partnership, or create a revenue stream from renting out part of a new building. There are various clever ways to put together funding.ÔÇØ┬á UBC has been successful in securing new research facilities since 2001 thanks to the federal governmentÔÇÖs Canada Foundation for Innovation program, which funds up to 40 percent of a research projectÔÇÖs infrastructure and equipment costs. The British Columbia Knowledge Development Fund contributes 40 percent on top of this, and the university adds the remaining 20 percent. ÔÇ£We have a large number of research projects from that program,ÔÇØ says Poohkay, ÔÇ£but it neglects the undergraduate and teaching areas, so weÔÇÖve focused our UBC Renew program on undergrads, classrooms and teaching labs.ÔÇØ The ongoing UBC Renew program, begun in 2003, is a $120 million partnership between the university and the province, encompassing multiple faculties and buildings at the Vancouver campus. ÔÇ£For years we asked the BC government for money to renovate,ÔÇØ says Poohkay, ÔÇ£but to no avail, so we negotiated a joint (50/50) funding proposal. The government portion is for academic upgrades and increased utilization of space, which it has been supporting for years, and UBC funds, which we obtain by borrowing against a large bond issue, go toward eliminating the backlog of deferred maintenance. We each put in $60 million, and Phase One of UBC Renew is renovating ten key academic buildings to provide each one with another 40 years of use, for slightly more than half the cost of comparable new buildings. And weÔÇÖre only paying half of that cost, so weÔÇÖre happy.ÔÇØ Step one of the UBC Renew program was getting the administrative, operational and academic planning groups communicating and working together, ÔÇ£which opens our eyes to everyone elseÔÇÖs interests; itÔÇÖs been really synergistic.ÔÇØ Buildings are not restored to their original state. ÔÇ£Instead, we retain the buildingÔÇÖs envelope, roof, structure and foundation and work with the building usersÔÇöthe academicsÔÇöto determine their current needs and how the space should be reconfigured. For example, we upgraded our iconic Chemistry Building [begun in 1913, paused, then completed after the war in 1919], the oldest facility on campus, with a completely new interior with state-of-the-art labs; itÔÇÖs amazing. The renovation cost $31.8 million, and a replacement would have cost $47.5 million.ÔÇØ UBC Renew renovates for the cost of repair, restoration and maintaining the historic exterior elements, within a 67 percent renew/replace ratio (chosen by the government), which essentially means no cost for renewing every third building. Renew projects target LEED certification, Silver or better; renovating existing facilities precludes building on undeveloped sites, thereby saving campus green space and avoiding the cost of new services and materials and preventing tons of materials being dumped into the landfill. All new building systems are energy-efficient, and existing materials are supplemented as much as possible with those having high recycled content.Phase One of UBC Renew is nearly 75 percent complete. Phase Two is pending commitment from the authorities. ÔÇ£The business case is done,ÔÇØ says Poohkay. ÔÇ£It could be a public-private partnership, and the board has to support another bond issue. WeÔÇÖre well into the planning; weÔÇÖve identified our first project and are ready to begin. The government is supportive because weÔÇÖre saving money by not building new structures, and the university is a taxpayersÔÇÖ asset to be invested in. So weÔÇÖre being practical as well as socially and environmentally responsible. ItÔÇÖs a good financial model, and everyoneÔÇÖs happy.ÔÇØ ┬á

Barging inUsing barges to carry cargo on inland waterways is one of the better kept secrets in the transport business, CEO Mike Ryan explains to Gary Toushek. After 20 years in the sales and marketing end of the railroad business (Canadian National Railway Company and CSX Corporation) and a few years at a trucking company (McCollisterÔÇÖs Transportation Systems) as senior vice president and general manager, Mike Ryan arrived at American Commercial Lines (ACL) in Jeffersonville, Indiana, in 2005, in charge of sales and marketing, and he quickly learned the barge business.