$23 million announced for new tech centre

Nov 28, 2002, vol. 25, no. 7
By Carol Thorbes

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A major capital investment by the provincial government has brought Simon Fraser University closer to realizing an ambitious goal.

Advanced education minister Shirley Bond recently announced a government investment of $23 million in the construction of a new technology and applied science centre.

The 9,000 square metre complex will be linked to an existing applied sciences building at Burnaby campus.

It will provide enough space to increase the number of new undergraduates admitted to computing and engineering science by 136 annually.

SFU had 210 bachelor's graduates from these programs in 2001/2002.
Computing and engineering science are two of the most popular programs and the most difficult to get into at SFU.

“Thanks to this kind of investment,” says Brian Lewis, “it is a very realistic goal that five years from now SFU will be recognized as the university which offers the best education and most innovative research in applied areas in Canada.”

Lewis is the dean of the faculty of applied sciences and a communication professor at SFU.

Bond reiterated her government's commitment to doubling the annual number of graduates in computer science and electrical and computer engineering within five years.

The province recently created a $95 million program to fund capital expansion at B.C.'s public universities. “We knew that the number of students currently graduating in these fields was not enough to keep up with the increasing demands of industry,” says Bond.

Before helping the minister unveil an artist's rendering of SFU's future technology and applied science building, fifth year engineering science student Denesh Pohar issued a challenge.

“This new capital investment is bringing together government, university, faculty and students,” said Pohar.

“If these four inextricably linked entities can work together, we can build this institution to a whole new level.” Construction is slated to begin in fall 2003 and completed in two years.

Bond also announced $7 million in provincial money to match federal funding for five SFU research projects under the Canada Foundation for Innovation program.

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