WGD Architects Inc. was retained by CBRE on behalf of the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) and Infrastructure Ontario (IO) for the purpose of the completion of the Centre for Northern Forest Ecosystem Research (CNFER) Relocation and Feasibility Study at 421 and 435 James St. S, in Thunder Bay.
CNFER, an MNR research branch, is currently located in a facility owned by Lakehead University. The study sought to investigate the feasibility of CNFER's accommodation in other MNR identified facilities within the Thunder Bay Region.
To accommodate CNFER in the existing 421 James Street facility, some substantial right-sizing, layout and block planning, program-use studies, and staff interviews were conducted to best assess the requirements. Multiple block planning studies were presented to MNR, of which three included Class C Estimates and multiple versions of the detailed floor and furniture plan iterations. A detailed architectural renovation scope, mechanical, electrical, and structural reports were also included in the study.
The initial space planning exercise was based on information WGD collected during a three day intensive interview and questionnaire process, to determine the future full-time staff projections and the branch's specific programmatic needs.