Churchill Northern Studies Centre Facility

Project Sector:

Project Details:

In the summer of 2011, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) moved into their new 27,800 ft2 facility. The building is designed for 88 visiting scientists and 12 staff working year-round on sub-arctic scientific research and education. Facilities include large and small dry laboratories, two classrooms, a gift shop, an observation dome, a library, herbarium, and study collections of various animal species. The Centre also has vehicles, a helicopter landing pad, a garage, and comprehensive logistical support for remote field camps.

For tourists interested in arctic ecology this Centre draws a worldwide audience year-round. Most notably many are particularly interested in the polar bear migration activity which takes place each fall. 

The new Churchill Northern Studies Centre’s innovative features and technologies include heat recovery in a difficult climate, intelligent building controls, an energy-efficient kitchen and energy-efficient appliances, as well as waterless composting toilets to deal with a lack of municipal services.

This Centre was rebuilt for $11 million, having survived for 35 years to this point using the former facilities of the Churchill Rocket Research Range. That earlier iteration of this site was as a military research site for northern communications and the launching of sounding rockets by the Canadian and US military. Due to the obsolete nature of these facilities and the pressing interest from the tourists a complete rebuild and reimagining of this facility was necessary.  Due to the location and site challenges, the build costs were particularly high such that both federal and provincial government support was necessary.  And now all visitors – scientific and otherwise, are hosted in modern accommodations. The proposal which enabled this decision needed to capture the importance of the science and tourism while balancing the costs of northern construction and site remediation.