Allan Cahoon, president of Royal Roads University, shows off the new state-of-the-art Sherman Jen building, which will be home to a wide range of fields including environmental science, tourism, and business and international student programs. (Kendra Wong/News Gazette staff)

Royal Roads University opens state-of-the-art facility

Sherman Jen Building includes 11 classrooms, lab, office spaces

Walking through Royal Roads University’s (RRU) new centre for environmental science and international partnership, the past and present feel very much alive.

From the outside, the sturdy wood frame and white walls stand tall and are a reminder of the Dunsmuir family that once lived on the property in the early 1900s.

Stepping into the building is like walking into the 21st century. Windows stretch from the floor to the ceiling, letting light stream in and students work diligently on laptops and lounge in green and blue chairs.

“This is both an environmental science building, but it’s also an international and cross-cultural centre,” said RRU president Allan Cahoon of the recently-opened building. “With this space, we’re actually putting students, programs, labs, faculty, administration all here.”

The state-of-the-art facility, called the Sherman Jen building, is the university’s first named building. Located near the recreation centre, the building will become home to on-campus undergraduate programs in a wide range of fields including environmental science, tourism, and business and international student programs.

The heritage building-turned learning space spans more than 4,800 square metres, while the brand new south wing adds roughly 1,800 square metres of space. The Sherman Jen building includes 11 digitally-integrated classrooms, advanced laboratories and teaching spaces, office spaces, a coffee shop, and a new hub.

In addition, the building also reduces the university’s environmental footprint. Features include smart technology window glass, which adjusts its tint level to block glare, UV radiation and solar overheating of spaces; lighting controlled by motion sensors in classrooms, offices and washrooms; electrical outlets that turn off when a space is unoccupied; as well as a boiler that provides 98 per cent energy efficiency.

Those features are expected to save roughly 1,230 gigajoules in total energy – the equivalent of saving about 200 barrels of oil each year – and reduce 44 tonnes of total carbon emissions every year.

“We need something that innovative,” Cahoon explained. “We don’t have departments, we don’t have disciplines, we have schools, we use technology – things that are relevant. Having a building should be able to reflect what you say you’re doing.”

Originally built in 1914, the building was used by the Dunsmuir family first as a stable and then as a garage. Over the years, what was formerly called the Mews building was used by Royal Roads Military College and then by the university as a classroom, conference and office facility.

Renovations on the century-old building began two years ago and was funded through the federal government’s post-secondary institutions strategic investment fund, the province and a $7-million donation from philanthropist Sherman Jen, for whom the building is named after.

Despite the renovations, the building still has connections to its storied past.

Nearly 60 per cent of the total floor area is made up of the existing wood frame structure. The windows were also built using panes from the previous windows.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

kendra.wong@goldstreamgazette.com

Royal Roads University

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Greater Victoria thrift shop quietly closes two locations indefinitely

Society of St. Vincent de Paul shut down Sooke and Central Saanich storefronts

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Greater Victoria

Thunderstorm may produce strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain, warns Environment Canada

Sooke couple that owned Sooke Harbour House given $4 million after lengthy court case

B.C. Supreme Court rules in favour of Frederique and Sinclair Philip

Local MP Elizabeth May likes aspects of throne speech, but questions execution

According to May nobody is as ‘reckless’ as BC’s John Horgan in dismissing snap election

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Cops for Cancer: COVID-19 can’t stop Tour de Rock

‘having the chance to come back and ride this year means everything to me’

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read