B.C. to help build new $89.6M engineering buildings at UVic

A rendering of the six-storey engineering and computer science building at UVic is shown: (Province of B.C. / Flickr)

Two cutting-edge STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) facilities will soon begin construction at the University of Victoria, with funding from the B.C. government.

The $89.6-million project includes the construction of a six-storey engineering and computer science building, and an adjacent "high bay research and structures lab."

The new engineering and computer science building will include a new laboratory and teaching spaces that can accommodate 500 additional seats, according to the province.

The expansion will lead to 125 more graduates from six engineering programs and UVic's computer science program by 2023, the province announced Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the high bay research and structures lab will include a 12-metre-high (39-foot) facility for large-scale experiments and structural testing. The province says the high ceilings are important for fields like civil engineering, where the extra space is needed for building-science research and material studies.

The high bay research and structures lab will also include industrial equipment such as two 10-tonne gantry cranes, which can be used to move full-size structures for testing.

A rendering of the high bay research and structures lab building at UVic is shown: (Province of B.C. / Flickr)

"Our government and UVic are responding to a clear demand for engineering and computer science programs, allowing people to learn where they live, while also welcoming new people to our community by providing increased capacity in these programs," said Murray Rankin, MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head in a release Thursday.

"This expansion will make it easier for people to access the training they need to be successful in their fields and for our community and province to benefit," he said.

The province says that the 500-seat expansion at UVic is part of the government's plan to add 2,900 tech-related seats across B.C. by 2023.

The province adds that the two new buildings are designed to meet a net-zero carbon target and will include green technologies such as solar roofs, heat pumps and rain gardens.

The project is estimated to cost $89.6 million, with the province funding $64.8 million and UVic contributing $24.8 million through a fundraising campaign.

Construction is slated to begin in early 2022 and the buildings are expected open in 2024.

"This new space will accelerate UVic’s research discoveries and attract top-tier international scholars and researchers," said Mina Hoorfar, dean of the UVic Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science in a statement.

"These landmark buildings will provide a dynamic environment for the training of future engineers and computer scientists," she said. "We plan to strengthen Victoria as technology hub by attracting more top talent to UVic and helping position this region as a global centre of excellence."

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