Arts school finds new home

March 10, 2005, vol. 32, no. 5
By Susan Jamieson-Mclarnon

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SFU is relocating the school for the contemporary arts to the historic Woodward's site as part of a major urban redevelopment project, President Michael Stevenson announced at a March 2 news conference in the old Woodward's store at Hastings and Abbott streets.

"This marks the culmination of more than a decade of intense effort," said Stevenson. "We are delighted to be part of the redevelopment of the landmark Woodward's site. It will offer wonderful learning facilities for our students and vastly improved research space for our faculty, while contributing enormously to the cultural and economic revitalization of Vancouver."

SFU participation in the Woodward's project is made possible by a $6 million donation of property. "We want to particularly thank the Holborn Group's Simon Lim and his family for their thoughtful generosity to the project and to Simon Fraser University," said Stevenson.

The new facility will cost about $45 million. Chancellor Milton Wong is heading a campaign to raise the needed funds. The school hopes to move into its new space by 2008.

"I cannot overstate the importance of this development to the school for the contemporary arts," said Martin Gotfrit, director of the school. "This is the realization of our long-held dream of all being together in appropriate space. In its new downtown location the school will be a vibrant beacon of culture for the entire country."

The school for the contemporary arts will occupy up to 10,500 square metres in the new development, housing degree programs currently based in Burnaby. The school expects to expand its current annual enrolment of 1,200 students.

In welcoming SFU's commitment, Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell said, "When the city purchased Woodward's in 2003, our goal was to bring this historic building and neighbourhood back to life. The addition of the school for the contemporary arts plays an important role in reaching this goal."

The Woodward's redevelopment is the result of considerable community consultations. It will be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable and include market and non-market housing and community, commercial and retail elements.

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