Construction of Royal Roads university’s first new building will wrap up by the end of this month, thanks to some eleventh-hour funding from the federal government.
When construction began on the Learning and Innovation Centre in May 2009, the project was underwritten by $15 million from the province and $3 million from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program. But still short on the $20 million building tab, the university was given another $2 million from the federal program in February.
The building is on budget and on schedule, said Paul Corns, RRU associate vice-president of community relations and advancement. Waiting for the funding didn’t cause delays.
“We’d applied for this last piece of funding and expected it was on the way,” he said. “We were able to get by without it.”
The new money is for technology and furnishings for the school’s Centre for Dialogue on the building’s fourth floor.
Inspired by the Wosk Centre at Simon Fraser University, the LIC building will be a hub for video conferencing and multi-media presentations. Technology will allow remote lecturers to be projected live on a nine-metre screen in the front of a 100-seat lecture hall. Three ceiling cameras will allow the presenter to scan the audience and interact with individuals in the room.
Conversely, presentations hosted in the centre can be recorded and streamed live on the Internet to be viewed on other campuses or by the school’s many distance education students.
“It’s going to be a place to share great ideas without the restriction of geography,” Corns said. “We’re already doing this at the school, but not at this scale.”
Three smaller rooms with capacities ranging from four to 12 seats will also be equipped with cameras and screen for smaller-scale collaboration. The rooms will have executive-style furnishing to attract corporate use.
“This will be the only centre of it’s kind on Vancouver Island,” Corns said. “We expect governments and industry to take an interest in using it to connect with experts off the Island.”
The Learning and Innovation Centre, designed to a Gold LEED environmental standard, is the first purpose-built facility constructed on the Royal Roads campus in the 16 years it’s been a public university. The first three floors will house teaching space, a social science lab and office space.