SFU opens new sustainable building as first phase of Surrey campus expansion

April 25, 2019

By Braden McMillan

Simon Fraser University celebrated its Surrey campus expansion with the opening of its new $126-million building in Surrey’s City Centre—the first major step in expanding the Surrey campus beyond its current home in the Central City complex.

Joining today in an opening ceremony were B.C. Premier John Horgan, Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and Joyce Murray, president of the Treasury Board and federal Minister of Digital Government. The federal and provincial governments each provided $45 million towards the new facility.

The five-storey, 20,458 square-meter facility, located adjacent to the existing Surrey campus, will be home to SFU’s new Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program, which launches in September 2019.

“Investing in clean tech innovators here at SFU Surrey will help build a cleaner, brighter future for everyone in B.C.,” said Premier John Horgan. “The skills and experience students gain in this new building will help them succeed in B.C.’s growing clean tech sector and become leaders in the low-carbon economy of the future.”

Premier John Horgan joins SFU President Andrew Petter and other dignitaries on a tour of student demonstrations in new Sustainable Energy Engineering Building

The program will leverage SFU’s strengths in engineering, energy technologies and environmental science, and prepare students to become leaders in high-demand sectors such as renewable energy, sustainable manufacturing, clean power generation, as well as in sustainable food and water solutions.

The new building and program support the first phase of a three-phase expansion plan for Surrey that will strengthen SFU’s mission to be Canada’s engaged university.

“Simon Fraser University is grateful for the significant support received from the federal and provincial governments for this much-needed Surrey campus expansion,” said SFU President Andrew Petter. “The new facility and program will enable SFU to generate the talent and research that B.C. and Canada require to be leaders in the development and application of clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions.”

Central atrium of new SFU building

The new building’s focus on sustainable engineering and SFU’s strengths in entrepreneurship align with the City of Surrey’s priorities as a leader in sustainability and clean technology.

“This state-of-the-art new building in City Centre is indicative of SFU’s commitment to Surrey,” said Mayor Doug McCallum. “SFU was one of the first to lay down roots in our City Centre, and the opening of this new building is a natural evolution for SFU as it takes its first major step in expanding beyond its Central City campus. I want to congratulate SFU for its foresight and commitment to Surrey.”

The building will accommodate 440 new full-time equivalent (FTE) student spaces (320 undergraduate and 120 graduate spaces) and also support SFU’s Mechatronics Systems Engineering (MSE) program with space for research and student entrepreneurship through SFU’s Technology Entrepreneurship@SFU program.

Designed by the late Bing Thom, and delivered and executed by Revery Architecture (formerly Bing Thom Architects), Surrey’s newest landmark features teaching labs, an open atrium and a 400-seat theatre that is available for use by both SFU and the community. The building’s façade is designed to represent ‘circuit board’ imagery symbolic of the technological subject matter that will be taught, and has already garnered a national industry award.

New 400-seat theatre available for use by SFU and community

Targeting energy-efficient LEED Gold standards, the building is also a “living lab” fitted with sustainable features that make it an ideal home for the new program. Students will study in one three themes: smart cities, clean transportation and sustainable manufacturing.

Students like Surrey’s Danielle Arciaga will be among the first to study in the new building.

“It’s exciting to be pioneers in this super cool new building and a program designed for new engineers who want to pursue the sustainability field,” says Arciaga, a second-year engineering student transferring into the new SEE program. The Surrey resident is weighing both clean tech and smart cities streams.

Danielle Arciaga will be among the first to study in the new SFU building

“I’ve been looking for ways to prepare myself for a career where I could really contribute as a green innovator in my own community. The program will show how these new emerging green industries could impact us right here in Surrey, and that’s what really drew me in.”

SFU’s Surrey expansion will address the growing workforce needs of industry for skilled graduates and help meet the increasing demand for accessible post-secondary education south of the Fraser. The new building will welcome full-time students starting this fall while planning continues for future expansion phases that target health and creative technologies.