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SFU Surrey AIM to expand campus, revitalize city centre

May 15, 2008

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By Terry Lavender

An expanded university campus and a thriving mixed-use city centre are two of the main goals SFU and the City of Surrey will pursue under a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two.

Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts and SFU President Michael Stevenson signed the MoU on April 14. It calls for the university and the city to work together to communicate to the province the importance of additional capacity at the SFU Surrey campus, especially for science and health sciences programs. It commits the two partners to explore ways to attract new businesses to Surrey in general and the Surrey city centre in particular.

The MoU will be implemented through an annual report of activities and accomplishments prepared by the City Manager and the SFU Surrey executive director for City Council and SFU’s senior executive. SFU will formally present to the City’s intergovernmental affairs committee twice a year to discuss priorities and issues.

"Demand from high school students for admittance to SFU Surrey in programs such as science is far outstripping the capacity of the campus, and currently the percentage of degree holders in the region is lower than other Lower Mainland cities," says Stevenson. "An expanded SFU Surrey campus is vital if we are to provide students in this area with the opportunities they need."

Watts says Surrey recognizes the importance of SFU to the revitalization of its city centre. "Having a research university within its boundaries, particularly with a reputation as outstanding as SFU’s… is an important factor in the on-going growth and development of the Surrey City Centre area."

Watts notes that the city and SFU have been cooperating for several years on various initiatives. "The MoU provides a more formal structure and an acknowledgement of our close ties."

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