Feds issue RFQ for $400 million Gatineau archival preservation centre

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LAC archival centre
Rendering of the planned $400 million archival preservation centre in Gatineau

The federal government has released a request for qualifications (RFQ) for a new archival preservation centre in Gatineau, a project that could cost as much as $400 million.

“Library and Archives Canada (LAC) is home to a treasure trove of essential documents, records, artifacts and artworks that help tell the story of who we are,” Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage, said in a release. “The new Gatineau 2 project will provide up-to-date facilities, equipment and conditions for Library and Archives Canada to preserve its collections and make them accessible to Canadians for generations to come.”

The RFQ will be followed next spring by a full request for proposals, which will start the actual bidding process.

A government news release says “the new state-of-the-art facility will be located immediately behind the existing Preservation Centre. With ideal conditions for preserving archives, the new building will reduce operating costs, increase and maximize the space required, and reduce the environmental footprint thanks to green and sustainable infrastructure. All Canadians will ultimately benefit from better service.”

The government anticipates construction will start in 2019 and the building will be completed two years later.

“Procurement options analysis shows that a public-private partnership is the best value-added model,” the statement says. “With this type of partnership, the private sector has a major share in the risks and financing of the infrastructure.”

Accordingly, the news release says LAC plans to “select a consortium to oversee the design, financing, construction, operation and maintenance of the new facility.”

The building would be around 128,000 sq. ft. in size, is to have specific environmental controls to ensure the preservation of various documents and should be designed to conform to a 500-year lifespan. The government would pay for the project over 30 years.

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