Vancouver Island University will embark on the largest capital project in its history with construction of a $40 million health and science centre on the Nanaimo campus.
The university and B.C. and Canadian governments announced investment in the planned four-storey, 6,855 square-metre facility Friday with $19.4 million coming from federal coffers, $16.5 million from provincial and $4 million from the university and its partners.
The centre will house a majority of the university's health and chemistry programs, teaching labs for nursing and other health programs and an applied environmental research lab.
“It'll [benefit] bachelor of science and nursing, health-care assistant, licensed practical nursing and then a whole suite of professional development training programs and that includes community mental health workers, medical device reprocessing technicians," said Andrea Smilski, interim dean of health and human services.
“It also includes activity assistance and rehab assistance, so there's a variety of students in our professional development training programs,” she said.
Ralph Nilson, university president and vice-chancellor, said the university will see how many new spots are created for students over time, but it will create the space that is needed for the types of programs the university is offering.
“It will create the learning environment for the chemistry programs so we can move forward and develop more chemistry program strength ... depth, it'll provide the kind of lab space that is necessary within the nursing program as well as with other science programs,” said Nilson.
Nilson said the university hopes to break ground soon and have the centre substantially complete so students can move in in fall of 2018 and the university will look at new programs and degrees as it has the opportunity and based on demand.
VIU's $4 million contribution will come from fundraising, Nilson said.