Building for the future
In response to a recent request by the Ontario Government, Queen’s has submitted proposals for five key capital projects that would further the university’s academic mission to maintain excellence in teaching and research.
The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ (MTCU) has called for proposals from postsecondary institutions through its Major Capital Support Program for academic buildings. This funding would be separate from provincial operating grants, which support the University’s operating budget.
“These capital projects would help to further our institutional priorities and they all align with the government’s desire for innovative teaching and research as well as increased undergraduate and graduate enrolment,” says Provost and Vice-Principal (Academic) Bob Silverman.
If approved for government funding, the proposed projects would require internal and Board approvals once remaining capital funds from private sources are identified, he adds. The University would also need to ensure it has appropriate housing and services to support additional students.
In light of current deficiencies in the teaching and learning space at Queen’s, the university’s top priority is a Teaching Space Complex. The proposed building, at Union and Division Streets, would provide the size and flexibility required for best practices and innovative techniques. It would offer a range of teaching and learning spaces, from traditional lecture theatres of various sizes to smaller classrooms and seminar rooms that could be used for collaborative and inquiry-based learning.
The other proposed projects are:
• A new Engineering Building to support the 10 accredited programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, allowing for significant undergraduate and graduate growth.
• Renovation of existing space that would be re-purposed following the building of the Teaching Complex and the Engineering Building. This would allow for graduate and undergraduate growth and additional undergraduate and research laboratory space. It would also reduce the deferred maintenance burden in a number of older buildings.
• A new building that would serve increased enrolment in the high-demand, competitive Life Sciences program and be a central facility for animal care, addressing a pressing need of researchers and students in health sciences, biology and psychology.
A comprehensive campus planning process to be initiated over the next year will be informed by the ongoing academic planning process, says Dr. Silverman.
The Ministry has set targets to increase both international enrolment and post-secondary participation rates in Ontario over the next five years. The Major Capital Support Program is part of a province-wide review of capital projects and major strategic infrastructure initiatives at all Ontario colleges and universities.