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$89.6-million engineering, computer science expansion coming at University of Victoria

Two new facilities on campus will create room for 500 more students
A rendering of the University of Victoria’s new six-storey addition to the engineering and computer science building, expected to be complete by 2024. (Credit: Dialog Design)

University of Victoria engineering and computer science students will soon have far more space to learn and experiment.

Announced Thursday (July 22), the expansion of the faculty’s building includes a six-storey addition. This will support 500 additional seats for students in computer science and six engineering programs (biomedical, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical and software), leading to 125 more graduates per year by 2023. Currently, the faculty accommodates approximately 3,000 undergraduate and 600 graduate students.

The University of Victoria's new High Bay Research and Structures Lab will allow for structural testing and large-scale experiments by 2024. (Credit: Dialog Design)

A new research lab will also include a 12-metre-high area for research into full-scale prototypes and a 10-metre tall “strong wall” to test structural elements. Two 10-tonne cranes will run the length of the lab and allow for the moving of full-sized structures, and a large shake table will let students test the impact of vibration on their inventions.

Together, the expansion and lab projects will total $89.6 million, with $64.8 million funded by the province and $24.8 million from the university and a fundraising campaign.

“This new space will accelerate UVic’s research discoveries and attract top-tier international scholars and researchers,” said Mina Hoorfar, dean of the faculty of engineering and computer science. “These landmark buildings will provide a dynamic environment for the training of future engineers and computer scientists. We plan to strengthen Victoria as a technology hub by attracting more top talent to UVic and helping position this region as a global centre of excellence.”

READ ALSO: University of Victoria divests $80 million from fossil fuel investments

UVic Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science Dean Mina Hoorfar speaks to the importance of expanding their programs for creating a global centre of excellence. Behind her left to right: UVic president Kevin Hall, engineering student Jessica Hubbs, Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training Anne Kang, and Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin. (Jane Skrypnek/News Staff)

Both new structures are designed to achieve a net-zero carbon target, combining passive house design features – resulting in an up to 90-per-cent decrease in heating and cooling energy – and mass timber structure, which generates less carbon dioxide than concrete or steel.

The buildings will also be equipped with heat pumps and green and solar roofs. This, the university said, will allow students to experience high-performance green buildings firsthand.

Intake for the 500 new seats began in 2018-19 and will be complete by the 2022-23 school year. Construction is expected to begin in early 2022 and occupancy is set for 2024.

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About the Author: Jane Skrypnek

I'm a provincial reporter for Black Press Media.
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