The Government of British Columbia announced that construction will begin this summer on the Royal BC Museum’s (RBCM) collections and research building as part of a long-term plan to protect the province’s collections that include more than seven million artifacts and the BC Archives.

A $204.8-million contract has been awarded to Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd. for the design and construction of the collections and research building (CRB) in Colwood, following a competitive design-build procurement process. Total capital project costs for the building are valued at more than $270 million.

“Our government is committed to protecting our province’s history today and for future generations,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Tourism, Arts, Culture and Sport. “I am confident that this is the right step to take in securing our province’s invaluable history and ensuring more access for people. We look forward to working with Maple Reinders, the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, and the City of Colwood on this historic new building.”

The new 15,200-square-metre (163,611 square feet) building will be a state-of-the-art facility using mass timber that safely houses the Province’s collections, BC Archives and research departments. It will also provide dedicated research labs and learning spaces, as well as improving access to the collections for British Columbians.Currently, less than 1% of the Province’s vast collection is accessible to the public.

“Alongside the safe and modern storage of the collections and provincial records, the CRB will be a dynamic and welcoming community space,” said Alicia Dubois, CEO, Royal BC Museum. “We are thrilled with the design Maple Reinders has proposed and the alignment of our organizational values. We hope to inspire future paleontologists, entomologists, botanists and historians through greater learning opportunities by enhancing public access to our work.”

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Some of the items are at risk from flooding. They include: archival books and manuscripts; rare and priceless artworks, including watercolours from the 1700s; several paintings by Emily Carr; and early provincial maps.

“We are humbled to have been chosen to design and construct this important cultural facility,” said Reuben Scholtens, vice president of Major Projects at the Maple Reinders Group. “Our team is committed to delivering a world-class facility that will not only serve as a community and learning hub but will reflect and pay respect to the deep cultural connections the local Indigenous peoples have to the place where the facility will stand.  There is a vibrant and compelling story to be told and we are enthused at the prospect of being able to assist in its telling.”

It is expected that ground will be broken in summer 2023 with an expected public opening in summer 2026.

Featured image: Construction will begin this summer on the Royal BC Museum’s (RBCM) collections and research building as part of a long-term plan to protect the Province’s collections that include more than seven million artifacts and the BC Archives. (B.C. Government)

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