Raising the Grade on Campus

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

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.