In 1973, Glendale Lodge was opened as a residential hospital for severely disabled patients. Since it was vacated in 1996, due to being considered obsolete, the building had not been utilized. Considered no longer suitable for this use in 1996, the building remained vacant until 2000 when the provincial government approved a conversion of the former 165,000 sq.ft hospital to a research technology park. In November 2001, VITP was officially opened.
The Lodge was renovated in an economical retrofit that utilized the existing infrastructure and significantly reduced costs for the development and community while preserving the synergistic architecture.
The former hospital was gutted and new mechanical and electrical systems installed that were suitable for a technology park. Several environmental issues were dealt with as part of the redevelopment:
- Removal and remediation of underground oil storage tanks
- Removal of asbestos
- Innovative solution to correct a storm water collection system that essentially collected all storm water into a major culvert that flushed contaminates and sedimentation into an onsite salmon bearing stream
Once approval for the conversion was granted, the project managers were given 12 months to design, deconstruct and reconstruct the building into its new use. The budget was set at $11,900,000.
About a month into the design process, the decision was made to build the project as an example of Green Building and Site Design. It was felt that developing VITP as a Green Building would assist in the marketing of the project (which it has) and also be a showcase to encourage others to develop Green Buildings in the community to help preserve the quality of life in our region. Although the original tight budget did not anticipate a green building, the project was brought in on time and on budget. In fact the green initiatives such as waste management reduction helped offset some unexpected costs encountered during the renovation.
In April 2005, the University of Victoria purchased the Vancouver Island Technology Park from BCBC – the real estate arm of the provincial government for $20.2 million dollars.