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UBCO engineering students face ‘harsh reality’

Engineering students are in desperate need of space on the UBC Okanagan campus—a problem the university hopes to address by next year.

Krystal Smith, a UBCO student representative on UBC’s board of governors, told her colleagues during their meeting Thursday at The Grand Okanagan Hotel that engineering students are getting fed up.

“What is going on is they don’t have adequate space to do labs and different portions that their program requires,” Smith said.

Engineering students are having to go into portables and off-campus to do required course work.

When engineering students arrive on campus to start their studies they are shocked at the conditions they find.

“It was a harsh reality coming to campus,” she said.

“When you go to an institution you don’t expect to be doing labs and building things out of portables and unfortunately that is a fact of what is happening at UBC Okanagan right now, and we just need to work very hard to remedy that situation.”

UBC vice-chancellor Doug Owram, who is responsible for UBCO, said a new engineering management building will not be ready for two years.

However, the Fipke multipurpose building should be complete by next September and will provide temporary relief.

“The Fipke building which has laboratories and classrooms and offices in it, will provide us the capacity to move the engineers out of the portables into offices and provide the students with the kind of lab space they need and the faculty with the kind of research space that they need,” said Owram.

“And that’s important. It has been an issue that they’re been living in very uneven conditions.”

The Fipke building is eventually going to house arts and science programs, Owram said, but the faculty to run those programs will not be hired until after the engineering program moves to its own building.

anieoczym@kelownacapnews.com

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