Liu Centre to be housed near International House

The university is proceeding with a plan to build facilities for the Liu Centre for International Studies adjacent to International House at Gate 4 following the Board of Governors' rejection of a proposal to build a multi-use facility at the Faculty Club site.

Work is now underway on design and costing for a free-standing Liu Centre housed in a 900- to 1,350-square metre, two- or three-storey building at the International House site.

Prof. Ivan Head, who was recently appointed Liu Centre director, said the location is ideal.

"There will be a good degree of integrity in that it will be a single occupant building, absent the sometimes confusion that comes in a multi-user facility. We will have the benefit of identification as the Liu Centre," he said.

Head and current Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Gordon Smith, who was appointed as senior fellow with the centre, will use office space in the C.K. Choi Building until the centre is completed.

Approval for the Liu Centre's design and the authority to proceed to construction will be sought at the September Board of Governor's meeting.

The Liu Centre, nestled in the trees adjacent to International House, will likely be linked to International House and could be completed as early as September 1998, said David Grigg, UBC's manager of Urban Planning and Infrastructure.

Grigg said the project, including design, planning and construction, is to cost no more than $6 million.

The Liu Centre for International Studies and its academic program will focus on the new generation of global issues now challenging societies and their governments worldwide.

It intends to engage in participatory activities with other B.C. and Canadian universities. Discussions with the University of Victoria are currently underway.

"In the rapidly evolving global community, it is essential that policy makers be possessed of the most complete and relevant knowledge to permit decisions to be taken wisely and confidently. The gathering together of experts and practitioners of a variety of disciplines and backgrounds will permit this centre to make a valuable and distinctive contribution to society," said Frieda Granot, dean of Graduate Studies.

Funding for the project comes entirely from donors, including a lead donation of almost $4 million from the J. J. Liu Foundation.

The University Gathering Place Committee had recommended the Liu Centre be integrated with a conference centre, residence for university guests and university gathering place at the Faculty Club site.

Board members expressed concerns about the financial viability of a hotel and restaurant on the site. Faculty members on the board said the plan for the Faculty Club site did not include enough room for a gathering place. They also raised concerns regarding the existing building's integrity and the visual impact of a multi-storey building.