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

Merry Makers create new craft fair for Port Alberni

Hansen Hall fair begins as Work of Heart organizers retire

Port Alberni highland dancers invited to North American competition

Kali Nahorney received honourable mention medals in two categories

Government looks for public input on Cathedral Grove safety concerns

Port Alberni, Parksville info sessions invite public to help ‘shape future access’

ARTS AROUND: Enjoy magic and comedy at the Capitol Theatre

Transport yourself back in time for the McLean Mill Christmas Market

Port Alberni to receive $8.7 million in affordable housing

Two projects in the Alberni Valley will provide 87 units of housing

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

B.C. on track to record same number of overdose deaths as last year

128 people died of overdoses in September, bringing the total to more than 1,100 so far in 2018

Cowichan school district defends lack of notice to parents following elementary student arrest

Officials with School District 79 stand by their decision not to send out an alert.

B.C. firefighters rescue horse stuck in mud

‘It happens more often than you’d think,’ says deputy chief

Island Corridor Foundation optimistic about restoring rail service

If green-lighted, first priority would be Langford to Victoria route

Most Read