Canadian and Ontario governments invest $27.4M in infrastructure at Laurentian
By On-Site MagazineConstruction Infrastructure Skills Development education infrastructure investment Laurentian University skills skills development
The federal government will invest $21.1 million and the Ontario government will invest $6.3 million towards research and innovation infrastructure at Laurentian University. As part of a broad capital program totalling $60.7 million to be completed by March 2018, this $27.4 million investment is earmarked for the immediate construction of a new 47,000 sq. ft. Research, Innovation and Engineering Building. The announcement was made September 23 by Members of Parliament Marc Serré and Paul Lefebvre, Deputy Premier Deb Matthews and Energy Minister and Sudbury Member of Provincial Parliament Glenn Thibeault.
“The significant support of $27.4 million received today from this joint federal-provincial announcement, the largest infrastructure announcement in Laurentian’s 56-year history, allows for the expansion of much needed research and innovation space in our region,” said Jennifer Witty, Chair of the Board of Governors at Laurentian University. “With this investment, we will build the infrastructure required to support education and research, foster innovation, and create opportunity for students while strengthening the economy.”
The federal investment is made through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund announced in the 2016 Federal Budget. This $2-billion fund is intended to spur job creation, expand research and grow innovation by enhancing and modernizing research facilities on Canadian campuses while improving the environmental sustainability of these facilities.
“Canada’s post-secondary institutions are front-line agents in fostering science and research excellence. They help to train the workforce of tomorrow and create knowledge and insights necessary for the private sector and policy makers to build a thriving, clean economy,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. “Laurentian University has ambitious plans that will create well-paying jobs in its community while also delivering economic growth for years to come,” added Bains.
The provincial investment includes $5 million from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation. “The Ontario government is proud to support this important project that will deliver new and improved facilities needed to prepare students for successful careers in engineering and research. As a result of these investments, students, faculty and staff will work in state-of-the-art facilities that advance the country’s best research and support lifelong learning and skills training,” said the Honourable Deb Matthews, Ontario Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development.
The new Research, Innovation and Engineering Building, located between the Fraser and Parker buildings on the Sudbury campus, will include:
- Collaborative Research and Development space, enabling researchers across the University to share equipment and expertise to operate highly-specialized equipment;
- A dedicated Innovation and Commercialization space leveraging its partnership with the Northern Centre for Advanced Technology (NORCAT) to help emerging start-ups by bridging the gap between laboratory and market;
- Four capstone innovation labs allowing students in civil, chemical, mechanical and mining engineering to put their knowledge and skills to work to address creative design problems for actual clients;
- A Materials Analysis Lab to support researchers, students and industry partners in chemical analysis as well as mechanical, metallurgical, corrosion, heat treatment and capability testing;
- An Environmental and Soil Mechanics Lab will contain instrumentation, environmental chambers and other specialized equipment to support research, innovation and industry partners in the design of foundation and earth structures, and address issues in water chemistry, environmental microbiology, physical and chemical processes, and microbiological processes in addition to analytical equipment and bench-scale treatment systems;
- A Prototype Development and Machine Shop enabling innovation requiring a physical system;
- An Integrated Software Lab and Lecture Theatre will be equipped for computer- based activities using engineering software. This additional capacity will allow students to complete years 3 and 4 in civil engineering at Laurentian, and will accommodate bilingual engineering students who currently travel 400-600 km to complete their degrees;
- A Hydraulics and Fluid Mechanics Lab enabling engineering students to learn and research about open channel and closed channel fluid flows.
“Over the last 10 years, Laurentian University has secured more than $200 million in research income while enrolment at the award-winning Bharti School of Engineering has increased from 100 to 700 students during that period,” said Laurentian President Dominic Giroux. “We have a major role to play in supporting research and innovation opportunities both for students and for industry partners. The support received by the federal and provincial governments will certainly help us meet these demands,” added Giroux.
In addition to the new Research, Innovation and Engineering Building, Laurentian’s $60.7 million capital program includes investments by the university towards a new Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research Lab, new one-stop student services, a new Indigenous Sharing and Learning Centre, renovations to five labs in the Faculty of Health and a new roof for the J.N. Desmarais Library. It also features a $11.2 million partnership with Greater Sudbury Utilities for a cogeneration initiative to update the University’s heating systems campus-wide to an energy efficient combined heat and power (CHP) and aggregated district energy system. This will allow the University to reduce its electricity consumption by 79 per cent.
A KPMG study estimates the direct economic activity generated by this project at over $102 million in gross economic output with $54 million contributed to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product. The project is estimated to support 625 person-years of employment.
Laurentian’s Research, Engineering and Innovation proposal was developed in consultation and in response to community needs identified by the City of Greater Sudbury, the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA), Greater Sudbury Utilities, Health Sciences North, Science North, NORCAT – Sudbury’s Innovation Centre, the Global Advisory Council of the Bharti School of Engineering and the Laurentian University Native Education Council (LUNEC) among others. Laurentian University received over 50 letters of support from community and industry partners. For more information about the project click here.