Seed barn, poultry building on auction block at U of S

Constructed in 1915, the seed barn is located at the northwest corner of East Road and Preston Avenue on the University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon.  |  William DeKay photo

If walls could talk, these ones would tell stories of students, seeds and scratching chickens.

Two University of Saskatchewan heritage structures, the seed barn and the poultry science building, are slated for sale and removal to give way to more modern teaching facilities.

Constructed in 1915, the seed barn is a typical early 20th century dry storage building handed over by the federal government in the 1950s. The two-storey poultry science wood frame barn was built in 1918 and used as classroom and office.

Both structures have stood idle for decades on the U of S campus, no longer used for research, teaching or storage.

“We had no sort of feasible reuse for them. We decided to advertise them and see if there was interest from the public in these facilities and so that’s where we’re at right now,” said Greg Fowler, vice-president of finance and resources at the U of S.

Restoring and repurposing the barns to required standards is not deemed to be economically feasible or environmentally sustainable, Fowler said.

Consultation about the future of the two barns involved the U of S Animal and Poultry Science department, Saskatchewan’s Heritage Conservation Branch, Western Development Museum, Saskatoon Heritage Society and City of Saskatoon’s Heritage Advisory Committee.

“These buildings have been unused for many years and we didn’t really have a flexible-for-use possibility for them,” he said.

The seed barn is one of the most well-travelled buildings on campus. It originally sat near the Saskatoon Field House and was moved to make room for the university’s new hotel. It was moved again in 2013 to its current location on East Road, across from the Rayner Dairy Research and Teaching Facility.

The poultry science barn still sits at its original location, but plans for an expansion of the adjacent College of Engineering would take up its spot.

The Poultry Science building, built in 1918, was once used as a classroom but now stands in the way of College of Engineering expansion. | William DeKay photo

Fowler said there is no price tag attached to either building. They are for sale “as is” and must be relocated by the buyer.

“We’re looking for offers from proponents that have a new use in mind at an off-campus location. We don’t think there’s a lot of market value for them. … I recognize there’s a major cost to move as well.”

Fowler said the university is open to ideas.

“I think in terms of the seed barn, I could just see that out in rural Saskatchewan on a farm being used as a barn. It’s quite a proud facility and I think it’s something that would be quite valuable. The poultry barn has been longer in disuse and could be quite complicated.

“So I think there might be a different approach, but it too, in its day, was quite a great facility,” he said.

“We would really like to see someone that could move them at their cost and repurpose them and bring them back to their former glory.”

Viewings of both structures are allowed by appointment only.

Deadline for signed and completed bid packages was June 29.

For more information, contact Jared Totland at jared.totland@usask.ca or at 306-966-7759.

Contact william.dekay@producer.com

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