The University of Manitoba officially opened the doors last Friday to the largest construction project in its history.
In front of an enthusiastic standing-room-only crowd and a boisterous engineering marching band, a group of the university, government, industry and community leaders who were integral in making it all happen picked up bolt-cutters and cut the chain on the first phase of the university’s new Engineering and Information Technology Complex.
The newest addition to the University of Manitoba’s campus comes with all the bells and whistles. The new EITC provides a home for engineering and IT teaching, research and development in Manitoba, bringing together academic and industrial partners in a remarkably eye-catching manner.
“This new, cutting-edge engineering building will inspire learning and draw together in one location the academic, research and industrial expertise and programming that is so vital to Manitoba’s economy,” said Manitoba Premier Gary Doer.
“The Government of Canada recognizes in order to be successful and productive we must be among the first to generate new knowledge and put it to use,” said Reg Alcock, president of the Treasury Board and minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board. “Today's opening represents a major step forward in addressing the innovation challenge of the 21st century here in Manitoba.”
“The opening of this new facility revitalizes engineering and computer science at the University of Manitoba,” said Emőke Szathmáry, president and vice-chancellor.
“This will allow Manitoba to meet headlong the increasing demand for strong, tech-savvy graduates and researchers who are fundamental to the economic future of our province, nation and world.”
GBR Architects Limited was commissioned in February, 1997 to conduct a facility redevelopment study for the faculty that would ensure the continued provision of engineering educational excellence. The idea for the EITC grew out of existing partnerships and new potential for connections between engineering and computer science. The two disciplines share a commitment to providing the most advanced education possible, using state-of-the-art tools. They share a vision for course delivery, laboratories and collaboration with industry.
“I am delighted that the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering are sharing this magnificent new building,” said Mark Whitmore, dean of the Faculty of Science.
“With computer science a core department in the Faculty of Science, but co-located here with like-minded colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering, we have closer ties between scientists and our engineers, and can maintain important and productive links between our computer scientists and their colleagues in many scientific disciplines.”
“This facility will provide the teaching and research facility to move our programs into the 21st century,” said Doug Ruth, dean of the Faculty of Engineering. “It is also an architectural gem that will greatly assist us in recruiting and retaining the best students and staff. By mixing staff and students from engineering and computer science, we know that we will be able to both drive the high-tech agenda of the province and provide the highly qualified personnel required to sustain it.”
The EITC includes: the APEGM Design Studio; classrooms outfitted with an instructor station, multimedia equipment and projectors; facilities for tutorial-based learning, including tutorial and design rooms for small groups of students; shop and construction facilities for students to design prototypes in each program, and to support design-based teaching; and a comprehensive suite of research laboratories and facilities.
Funding for the EITC was provided through the generous support of the many donors to the Building on Strengths capital campaign.
The new building has fast become a symbol of a revitalized, growing university. It has become a must-see stop for curious students returning to campus for the fall term, and more recently, a highlight of the campus tours offered to visiting alumni during the past weekend’s Homecoming.