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Courtesy of University of Saskatchewan


Located on the border of the Canadian Shield, the Saskatchewan Forest Centre promoted the forestry industry and the sustainable use of resources found in Northern Saskatchewan. The 105,000-square-foot building in downtown Prince Albert showcased the wide variety of wood products that Saskatchewan offers. The Saskatchewan Forest Centre was the first LEED Gold certified building in the province. Challenges such as building on a Brownfield site, embracing recycled/salvaged materials, and integrating building systems that result in a 50% energy reduction savings provided opportunities to bring [aodbt architecture] to the next level, and this project was a starting point for in the endeavour to design sustainable and efficient buildings that meet LEED certifications. [1]

This project originally called for using Parallam; instead Glulam was chosen for cost-effectiveness, and to ensure wood was featured prominently in the design. Glulam became the natural choice for construction of this vibrant Forestry Centre. [2]

In 2015, the building was put up for sale. 

The Saskatchewan Opportunities Corporation (SOCO) owns the Saskatchewan Forest Centre.  [Minister of Crown Investments Don McMorris] said SOCO has a mandate to foster innovation and technology. 

“When we look at the Forestry Centre and what is was sold at it, at the time, was going to be innovation within the forest industry; bringing in private partners and government to innovate within the forestry sector,” McMorris said in scrum after Question Period. 

According to McMorris, what they’ve discovered is 17 per cent of the building is occupied by companies that have some input into the forestry centre, but that’s not enough. 

He said the building shows a small profit, but reiterated that is not “following through with the mandate” of SOCO to have it as an office building. 

“The small profit that we are making through it—all it takes is one tenant to pull out and that profit isn’t there, so we think building management, in this case, would be better done through the private sector and that’s why it’s being put up for sale,” he said. [3]

In 2019, the University of Saskatchewan purchased the building, to develop a new northern campus in the town of Prince Albert. 

The campus will bring together students in the Colleges of Agriculture and Bioresources, Arts and Science, Education, Kinesiology and Nursing, and the Edwards School of Business. Additionally, students will also be able to complete one year of study towards: dentistry, medicine, nutrition, pharmacy, physical therapy and veterinary medicine. 

USask has a long history of being present in the north—running academic programs and conducting research with communities. The new campus, along with the development of a northern strategy, reaffirms the university’s commitment to Indigenous and northern education. 

“It’s time to create an integrated and comprehensive strategy that builds on the strengths of the work happening now, and also to create mechanisms that make it easier for northern communities to access our university,” said Stoicheff. “Together, we will collaborate on developing needed programs and areas of research that are of interest to Indigenous and northern peoples.”  [4]


[1]      “Saskatchewan Forest Centre.” aodbt architecture + interior design. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://aodbt.com/project/the-saskatchewan-forest-centre/.

[2]      “Saskatchewan Forestry Centre.” Western Archrib. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://www.westernarchrib.com/projects-case-studies/saskatchewan-forestry-centre.

[3]      “Saskatchewan Forest Centre on the Market.” paNOW. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://panow.com/2015/04/28/sask-forest-centre-on-the-market/.

[4]      “USask Unveils Plans for Prince Albert Campus.” University Communications. University of Saskatchewan, September 16, 2019. https://news.usask.ca/articles/general/2019/usask-unveils-plans-for-prince-albert-campus.php.

Additional information:

“Programs in Prince Albert.” Programs in Prince Albert – University of Saskatchewan Prince Albert Campus – Admissions – University of Saskatchewan. Accessed June 23, 2021. https://pa.usask.ca/academics/programs-in-prince-albert.php.

“Project Database.” Accessed June 23, 2021. https://leed.cagbc.org/LEED/projectprofile_EN.aspx.

“Saskatchewan Taxpayers to Lose $4.5 Million with Controversial Prince Albert Building Sale .” Construction Links, March 12, 2018. https://constructionlinks.ca/news/saskatchewan-taxpayers-lose-4-5-million-controversial-prince-albert-building-sale/.

Project Title: University of Saskatchewan, Prince Albert Campus (formerly Saskatchewan Forest Centre)
Artists: aodbt architecture
Year: 2004

Place: Prince Albert, SK

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