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ASSC1 building

New building sets stage for advances in forensic research

September 21, 2007

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A ceremony on Sept 19 officially opened the Arts and Social Sciences Complex (ASSC1), north of Strand Hall at the east end of campus.                                 

The $34-million, 7,500-square-metre complex houses some of the most sophisticated forensic laboratory spaces in the country, along with two large lecture theatres and two 50-seat classrooms. A large atrium connecting the new building to the Academic Quadrangle affords a much-needed indoor gathering place for special events.

The new Centre for Forensic Research, shared by the department of archaeology and the School of Criminology, will draw forensic scientists from around the globe to pursue advances in crime-solving techniques. Highly secure and specialized labs—including an autopsy room, DNA labs, and entomology and osteology labs with crime labs, evidence rooms and state-of-the-art imaging labs - will better equip forensic scientists as they handle casework services for police and coroners, providing critical assistance to investigations.

A suite of new specialized archaeology labs combined with existing facilities gives the department one of the most comprehensive archaeology research facilities in North America, says chair David Burley, who is also director of the First Nations studies program, which now has a permanent home in the facility.

The School of Criminology and several associated labs have also moved into ASSC1. “We have grown significantly and continue to grow,” says Robert Gordon, school director. “We now have spaces for new research programs in a number of important areas, such as sexual aggression and cybercrime.”

Among these is the Institute for Canadian Urban Studies (ICURS) lab. Powered by $5 million worth of computers and software from IBM, the centre is a hub for analysing RCMP and Vancouver Police Department data. A new Clinical Psychology Centre houses psychologist Alexander Chapman’s research on borderline personality disorder.

ASSC1, which received $7 million in funding from the provincial government, was designed by Busby, Perkins and Will Architects and meets the highest requirements for energy conservation and sustainable laboratory buildings.

“Peter Busby’s magnificant new building showcases some of the world’s leading programs in archaeology, criminology and psychology,” says SFU President Michael Stevenson. “Aside from their distinctive disciplinary strengths, these programs have shared interests in forensic science, and have created a reputation for excellence in this area that reinforces SFU’s proud tradition of innovation and bold initiative.”

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