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UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 6 | Jun. 5, 2003

Raising the Grade on Campus

Construction projects changing the face of UBC

By Hilary Thomson

Campus construction is booming with major projects carrying a total value of more than $600 million -- more than any other university in Canada -- now underway.

“These projects are visible evidence of the support UBC has received from both the federal and provincial governments,” says UBC President Martha Piper. “We look forward to new, outstanding facilities that will accelerate and strengthen learning and research, and attract students and faculty to this campus.”

Projects range from student housing to galleries and research centres with most of the construction made possible through grants from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) with matching funds from the B.C. Knowledge Development Fund.

“The construction represents years of planning and fundraising,” says Joe Redmond, vice-president, UBC Properties Trust.

About 15 construction companies are currently working on campus employing crews ranging from fewer than a dozen workers to several hundred. The buildings will support innovation and learning and include some student and faculty housing projects that are distinct from the residential units proposed for UBC’s University Town, a development of campus neighbourhoods comprising housing, parks and commercial outlets.

“UBC, as a single employer, is one of the largest drivers of the local design and construction industry right now,” says Redmond.

Important buildings include the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre valued at $60 million. Due to be completed in May 2006, the centre has been largely funded by a $20 million donation from B.C. entrepreneur Ike Barber. Constructed around the heritage core of the Main Library, the centre will add more than 18,000 new square metres of inside floor space and more than 4,000 square metres of renovated floor space, fully equipped to support wireless technology.

The Life Sciences Centre of B.C., established through $110 million from the provincial government, is a key part of the Faculty of Medicine expansion program, and is fast-tracked to be ready for student enrolment in August 2004.

Currently one of the largest construction projects in B.C., the structure covers more than 47,000 square metres. It has five above-ground and two below-ground floors and includes three laboratory towers connected by two internal atriums.

Other key projects include the Museum of Anthropology renewal, which will feature a building extension, a digital resource network, labs and expansion of public gallery space and public education facilities.

The Institute for Computing Information and Cognitive Systems will be completed in July 2004 as part of a new Computer Science building that will be integrated with the existing Centre for Integrated Computer Systems Research. The new facility is designed to strengthen research links between disciplines that include applied science, health science, education technology and psychology.

Construction is starting on UBC’s fourth faculty and staff housing project that will add 60 rental suites to the 89 units recently completed.

Tec de Monterrey-UBC House, currently under construction, will add 200 student housing spaces units to Place Vanier. In addition, plans are underway for a further 2,000 student rooms that will be completed in 2005-2006.

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Last reviewed 22-Sep-2006

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