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Dalhousie’s Downtown Campus Gets $64-Million Expansion

Kings-Hants MP Scott Brison and Halifax MP Andy Fillmore announced Friday in Halifax the federal government’s contribution toward a $64-million transformation of the facility. The additional $32 million for the project comes from “support of industry, private donors, and the students of Dalhousie.”

The IDEA (Innovation and Design in Engineering and Architecture) Project will reinvent Dalhousie’s downtown campus and see the construction of two new academic structures near the existing Sexton campus.

According to informational material from Dalhousie, the Design Building will include a 450-seat auditorium, a design commons featuring numerous bookable meeting rooms and studio space for the Faculty of Architecture & Planning

The Innovation Building will house workshops and prototyping labs for the Faculty of Engineering, and innovation studios focusing on hardware-based entrepreneurship.

The funding will also see the addition of two hands-on student hubs in existing buildings. The “Advanced Manufacturing Hub” will allow students to explore the complete spectrum of industrial processing from raw material production through to the fabrication and analysis of engineered components while the “Ocean Engineering Hub” includes infrastructure that will allow applied research, commercialization and innovation in underwater sensors, robotics and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The IDEA project will also include the addition of sustainability features to effectively use water and energy, support for diversity in engineering and architecture programs and a dedicated space for start-up projects.

The focus of the project, according to Dalhousie, is “to provide modern space for students to learn the art of design through hands-on experience, and increase interaction and collaboration between students in the Faculties of Engineering, and Architecture & Planning.”

“This will dramatically enhance Nova Scotia’s research and development capacity, providing greater opportunity for students, researchers, and industry to collaborate, innovate and commercialize technologies,” Brison said on Friday.

“Investments like these in Nova Scotia will position Canada as a global leader in research excellence and innovation.”

Construction on the project is set to begin next spring with an opening date set tentatively for 2018.

It will be the first newly-constructed academic buildings on Dalhousie’s Sexton Campus since the university merged with the Technical University of Nova Scotia in 1997.

Federal funding for the project is through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund that was launched in the 2016 budget with the aim of supporting and accelerating strategic construction, repair and maintenance activities at universities and colleges across Canada.

Recent investments in Nova Scotia include the upgrading of the chemistry and science building at Acadia University, a new Research Centre in Applied Human Nutrition and Chemistry at Mount Saint Vincent University, a Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship in Dartmouth in partnership with the Nova Scotia Community College and upgrades to the NSCC campus in Pictou.