Under construction
Work to begin on Nunavut legislature next month

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 30/98) - Construction is about to begin on Nunavut's first legislative assembly in Iqaluit.

"The working drawings are now being finalized, the architects have given us a basic conceptual drawing and we have already submitted our development permit," said Tagak Curley, president of the Nunavut Construction Corporation, that's overseeing the project.

Construction on the building should begin as soon as the first barge comes in this year.

In a couple of weeks, however, contractors will drive piles into the ground, while the ground is still frozen making way for general construction following spring thaw.

The corporation will accept tenders soon and hire a number of subcontractors to do the work on the site including electrical, mechanical and plumbing and heating.

"During the peak period we should be averaging around 30-plus workers in our view," said Curley.

The legislature will be two buildings closed in a shell, joined by a hallway. One side, three stories high, will contain the offices and the other side the two-storey high assembly.

The architect, Full Circle -- Keith Irving of Iqaluit designed the building in such a way that it reflects the landscape of the Nunavut region. The building on the inside will resemble an igloo with its blocked shape. From outside, the assembly will have a globe-type roof.

The 3,000-square metre building is not over-designed, said Curley, in order to keep it affordable when leasing it back to the Nunavut government.

"It's a big project because it's quite a huge building and also the fact we got to put it up quick in order to meet the April 1, 1999 deadline," said Curley. "That's a priority."

This legislative assembly will house the first leaders of Nunavut.

It will be an interim facility for the Nunavut government until the government feels a need for a bigger building.

"Maybe in the end, somewhere along the road they will probably want a real monument," said Curley. "But this will be I think decent enough for the time being."

The building is designed so that if the government decides to build something else in Iqaluit, the building can be converted to a major commercial operation like a hotel, for example.

The cost of the building has not been finalized but the corporation is working within a budget so that in the end, the building will fall in line with Iqaluit market range for square foot cost, which currently is around $200.

Once the building is constructed, the construction corporation will have to find artwork from various Nunavut communities to decorate the facility.

Discussions are ongoing as to what types of artwork will be placed inside the legislature, said Curley.

He hopes however to have this aspect of the project handled by an independent body, like an art foundation allowing the corporation to simply contribute seed money to do the work.

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