THUNDER BAY, Ontario - Lakehead University, home to more than 7,300 students here, recently announced a comprehensive infrastructure renewal program designed to enhance classroom and research environments.

These improvements, delivered through a strategic business agreement with Johnson Controls L.P., will enable the university to save $11.4 million in energy costs and address $9.3 million in deferred maintenance over a 19-year period, says the company. The program combines energy cost savings and avoided maintenance costs to generate excess funds over the long-term.

In addition, Lakehead University and Johnson Controls worked collaboratively to secure a federal grant of $190,000 from Natural Resources Canada's Energy Innovators Initiative program to help fund the improvements.

"Lakehead University is committed to a sustainable and responsible energy solution for its aging facilities," said Dr. Fred Gilbert, president of the university. "Much of our 30- to 40-year-old equipment is no longer efficient, and we needed to put a strategic solution in place that would result in significant operational savings to resolve part of the university's deferred maintenance problem and be environmentally sustainable."

The agreement will improve the heating, cooling, lighting, and air quality within different areas of the university. The capital improvements are now underway and are scheduled for completion in June 2005. The agreement includes contractors from the Thunder Bay and northwestern Ontario region.

"Through our relationship with Johnson Controls, Lakehead University is now able to achieve a long-term program that is intended to address accumulated deferred maintenance costs," said Michael Pawlowski, vice president of Administration and Finance for the university. "We can set new rating standards for providing quality learning and research environments to our faculty and students here at the university."

The project calls for two engineering co-op students from the university to be part of the Johnson Controls team. The team will collaborate with the university's physical plant, which will be responsible for implementing a new central cooling plant, a new central heating plant, a new heating distribution system, and lighting and air quality improvements in student and academic buildings on campus.

Publication date: 09/20/2004