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UBC students open engineering centre


The University of British Columbia’s new Engineering Student Centre opened recently thanks to $5.2 million in donations from students, alumni and industry.

Half the funding came from student fees, the other half from alumni and donors from industry and the community, including Fluor, Kiewit and UA Local 170 Plumbers and Pipefitters.

“We’re thrilled to finally throw open the doors of our new building. It’s a great space for students to study, relax and socialize, finding the academic and social support they need to have a great experience at UBC,” said Engineering Undergraduate Society president Alan Ehrenholz.

The 10,060-square-foot, two-storey centre is a brand-new hub for more than 5,000 undergraduate engineering students on campus. It includes study and meeting rooms, a large atrium, a computer lab, student society offices and a dedicated space for first-year students.

“The Engineering Student Centre is a wonderful addition to Applied Science, one of UBC’s three founding faculties, as we celebrate our centennial year,” said Marc Parlange, dean of the Faculty of Applied Science. “It allows our undergrads to connect with their counterparts from all disciplines ranging from civil, mechanical, electrical and computer engineering, to mining and materials engineering.”

The building sits on the site of one of UBC’s original buildings, which was devoted to dairy research and included a classroom and lab devoted to cheese-making. To meet LEED Gold standards for sustainability, the new facility reuses beams, posts and all the concrete from “The Cheeze,” as the building became known when the Engineering Student Society turned it into their clubhouse.

The funds raised form part of start an evolution – the most ambitious fundraising and alumni engagement campaign in Canadian history, which aims to raise $1.5 billion and engage 55,000 alumni annually by fall 2015.

“This new campus landmark meets an important need and was made possible by the generosity of students, alumni, donors and the community,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “It highlights the drive and dedication that will move UBC forward for the next 100 years.”