Kelowna Capital News

Four faculties share quarters in high-tech UBCO building

Engineering students use the glass wall as a whiteboard in one of the break-out rooms in the now completed UBC Okanagan campus Engineering, Management and Education Building. - Contributed
Engineering students use the glass wall as a whiteboard in one of the break-out rooms in the now completed UBC Okanagan campus Engineering, Management and Education Building.
— image credit: Contributed

An impressive high-tech building was officially opened today at the UBC Okanagan campus more than a year after its door were opened to students and faculty.

At 186,000 square feet, and completed with a budget of $68 million, the Engineering, Management and Education (EME) building is home to four faculties and schools: The School of Engineering, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Management and the College of Graduate Studies. It has been the largest single project undertaken as part of the campus master plan.

The people who will make the significant discoveries of the next generation are in the classrooms and labs of this new Engineering, Management and Education building,” said UBC president Stephen Toope.

Students, researchers, and scholars will redefine our notion of the world by challenging concepts and engaging with students and society in new understanding. Together, they will improve our world from within these walls. That is truly exciting."

We are proud to have invested over $40 million in this building and I want to thank our partners for their generous investments in our province’s future,” added John Yap, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. “As part of our Skills and Training Plan, we’re taking an important step to ensure we have qualified civil, electrical and mechanical engineering professionals, as well as business leaders and educators, to meet the anticipated labour market demands in British Columbia.”

"We spend a lot of time thinking about how our university can have the greatest impact on our region and beyond,” said Deborah Buszard, UBC deputy vice-chancellor and principal of the Okanagan campus.

“The faculties housed in this building are transformative influences in the Okanagan and they have great impact far beyond our region. This is where our future engineers, teachers, and business leaders are learning about the world and how they can improve it."

UBCO plays a critical role in the Okanagan, and this facility will ensure engineering, management and education students are able to train in BC to help meet the needs of our local and provincial economy, now and for the future, noted Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart.

"What began as a conceptual drawing on a campus master plan has become a wonderful, thriving reality,” said Spiro Yannacopoulos, director of the School of Engineering. “There are literally hundreds of examples of how the students and members of faculty who call this building home are engaged in research with the power to transform society."

Engineering researchers, for instance, are developing the building blocks for light-speed computers that could revolutionize the notion of what computers can do. Green roof research is underway that will help semi-arid regions around the world design more sustainable buildings.

Civil engineers are helping communities make better decisions about how and when to replace aging—and failing— pipes, roads and bridges. Education researchers are developing the next generation of classrooms in their innovation lab, and helping teachers better understand ways to mindfully engage students. Management researchers are helping us understand social networks and consumer culture.

The EME building was designed and built with the needs of students in mind. One of the building's distinguishing features is the Richard S. Hallisey Atrium, providing bright, spacious areas for students, faculty and staff from all programs to socialize, study and interact. Multipurpose classrooms and laboratory facilities bring students together through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities.

Not only functional, the EME building is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. Construction was performed to a Gold Seal standard—in 2010 the national Gold Seal program used this project as a showcase for Gold Seal Certification.

It is also a LEED Gold building, which recognizes very high standards for building sustainability. Along with a geothermal energy system that heats and cools the building using groundwater from beneath the campus, the building features green roof technology, which helps insulate the building, handle storm water and also serves as a research laboratory.


Engineering, Management and Education Building

· At 186,000 square feet it is the largest building on UBC’s Okanagan campus

· Designed by architect Bunting Cody, in association with MQN Architects

· Contractor was Stuart Olson Dominion Construction

· Came in under budget, at $68 million

· Construction began March 2009

· Work was completed by summer 2011

· Occupancy took place August, 2011

· Home to four faculties and schools: The School of Engineering, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Management and the College of Graduate Studies

· The building features classrooms, lecture theatres, multi-purpose spaces and hands-on training resources including the High Head Lab, used specifically for large-scale testing of civil and mechanical engineering systems

· Two office/classroom buildings are connected by a glass-lined atrium, named after Richard Hallisey, a 1963 UBC Civil Engineering graduate. The atrium is a place for students to socialize, study and interact

· The building is a modularized form, and can adapt for future growth if the need arises.

· Large windows offer ventilation and natural lighting

· With a green roof, the building is environmentally friendly and energy-efficient. It uses a geothermal energy system that heats and cools multipurpose spaces, classrooms and offices.

· Construction was performed to a gold seal standard, and it is a LEED Gold Building – meaning that is meets very high standards for building sustainability

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