Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences opened in Port Alberni in 2010 and is already at capacity and looking to expand by almost 5

Pacific Coast University applies for expansion grant

Six years after opening in Port Alberni, Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences has applied for a federal grant to expand.

Pacific Coast University for Workplace Health Sciences has applied for a federal grant to expand, just six years after opening its doors in Port Alberni.

Pacific Coast University was invited to apply for the grant, and put together an 80-page application in two weeks, said Wolfgang Zimmerman, president of PCU-WHS.

Expansion would cost approximately $2.2 million and the government grant would cover half of the cost, Zimmerman said.

The federal government announced a $2 billion strategic investment fund in support of capital expenditures for post-secondary institutions across Canada in its April 6 budget, and this is what the university has applied for, he added.

Expansion would be 4,880 square feet above the existing lecture theatre and would create additional classrooms, office space, washrooms and a distributed learning centre.

There is already a partial second floor and elevator access to where the new area would be.

The expansion would not significantly change the building’s footprint, Zimmerman said, as all construction would create a second floor above the lecture hall.

The only change would be a fire exit stairwell that will have to be built on the side of the building, but there is room.

“This unique post-secondary institution has an important beneficial impact on our Vancouver Island community,” Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns wrote in support of the proposed expansion.

“In this difficult economic climate, PCU-WHS offers a replacement economy—that of the high-value education industry…It provides much-needed positive impact on the economic development in this area.”

The university would phase in expansion over two years, beginning with detailed architectural drawings from lead architect Chris Pollard, who designed the original university.

Expansion couldn’t come at a better time for PCU-WHS. The institution partnered with three research project proposals through a new research fund created through Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and all three were accepted.

“They (CIHR) created a healthy and productive workplace fund in the fall of 2014 because they thought this is a whole new area we need to pay attention to,” Zimmerman said.

There were 57 applications, but only 20 of them received funding. Zimmerman wasn’t expecting all three of the projects they partnered with to be accepted.

The first project is with the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, and will use an assessment protocol audit tool developed by NIDMAR, which operates out of PCU-WHS.

The second project is with the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Toronto and addresses occupational therapy for invisible injuries.

The third, a joint project between Dalhousie University and Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, addresses return to work strategies for patients with breast cancer.

“All of these will start next fall,” Zimmerman said.

Once Pacific Coast University’s expansion is complete in a couple of years, there will be more office and classroom space for projects such as these to occur on a regular basis. Zimmerman is also excited at the prospect of having a multimedia distributed learning centre for distance learning.

“We’re looking to support new curriculum development, to potentially fund scholarships and bursaries for students taking classes,” he said.

The university has also been appointed a federal deputy minister university champion.

Zimmerman expects to hear whether their funding application was approved later this summer.

“We would start as soon as we basically have approval,” he said.




Just Posted

Port Alberni’s West Coast Rangers hold rendezvous

Three-day event featured historical re-enactment

Port Alberni Port Authority talks logistics for cruise ship visit

Some restrictions for pedestrians, boaters will be in place

Port Alberni’s ‘Army of Problem Solvers’ to the rescue

Facebook group gathers people who just want to help their neighbours

Hurricane Katrina inspires Alberni author’s new novel

Jacqueline Swann brings message of climate change to life with story of fictional journalist

Port Alberni RCMP searching for missing teenage girl

16-year-old Lasheena Seward was reported missing from a group home on May 9

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Unbe-leaf-able: Agassiz man finds more than 200 four-leaf clovers in a month

Walt Hardinge has found more than 219 four-or-more leaf clovers this spring alone

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Man in B.C. charged with murder and arson in 2016 New Brunswick death

He is charged in the death of 71-year-old Lucille Maltais, who was found inside a burned down home

Improve your life and theirs, adopt a cat from the BC SPCA

The BC SPCA holds an adult cat adoption promotion

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Support growing for orphaned Okanagan child after father dies in highway crash

Family thanks emergency crews for assistance in traumatic incident

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

Most Read