Simon Fraser University opens $126M Surrey expansion in sustainable energy – CBC.ca

Simon Fraser University opens $126M Surrey expansion in sustainable energy - CBC.ca
$126-million SFU Surrey campus expansion reaches completion (PHOTOS)
Simon Fraser University has expanded its Surrey campus with a new facility dedicated to sustainable energy engineering.

The new building will accommodate 440 new full-time student spaces and 40 faculty and staff in September for the university's new sustainable energy engineering degree program.

“Oscar” gave Horgan a friendly reprimand as he tried to recycle a coffee cup, and commended him when he completed the task properly. The zero-waste station will be rolled out at the new Surrey campus, and is already in use at Vancouver’s airport, and is one of several projects the duo has designed for the firm they started after graduation, Intuitive AI.

The program integrates science, environment and business courses in energy engineering to prepare students to work in clean technology sectors like power generation, and food and water. 

Dignitaries from SFU as well as local, provincial and federal governments were on-hand to officially open the SFU Surrey campus expansion at a ceremony in Surrey, BC Thursday, April 25, 2019. The building will house SFUs Sustainable Energy Engineering program. Pictured is Premier John Horgan reacting to a interactive demonstration during the opening. Jason Payne / PNG

The five-storey building, which is around 215,000 square feet and cost $126 million, was officially opened at a ceremony on Thursday. It sits adjacent to the current SFU campus at Surrey's Central City Mall.

Thom’s widow, Bonnie, was on-hand for the official opening of the building Thursday, along with Premier John Horgan, Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum, B.C. Minister off Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston, B.C. Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training Melanie Mark, MP Joyce Murray, B.C. Minister of Labour Harry Bains and other dignitaries.

It features a 400-seat lecture hall, wet and dry teaching labs and classrooms, study spaces, offices and a bright central atrium space.

As Murray paused during the building tour, she said: “This is about the investment in people that will be creating the pathways forward to a sustainable, clean-energy economy. Over 400 students will have places in this facility and doing state-of-the-art research and innovation to enable us to transition away from our polluting technologies.”

"This isn't just a building," Melanie Mark, minister of advanced education, skills and training, said in a statement. 

Because Thom died before the building was constructed, Lisa Potopsingh of Revery Architects (Bing Thom Architects successor firm) was the lead architect charged with executing the design. The five-storey, 20,500 square metre building will open to students this fall and house the university’s new Sustainable Energy Engineering program.

"It's an innovation hub where energy engineering students will design solutions for smarter communities, cleaner energy and position B.C. as a global leader in clean tech."

From the sweeping height of the airy atrium and natural-wood finishing, to the ficus trees that lift toward the skylights and the playful exterior that emulates a circuit board, the new $126-million building expresses Thom’s legacy of warmth and form tied to both the natural environment and the building’s function.

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Simon Fraser University has opened the largest expansion its satellite Surrey campus has ever seen, since it was established nearly a decade and a half ago.

The footprint of SFU Surrey, currently centralized within the iconic Central City shopping mall and office complex in Surreys emerging city centre, has been expanded to a new $126-million facility built across the street at 10285 University Drive.

Dignitaries from SFU as well as local, provincial and federal governments were on-hand to officially open the SFU Surrey campus expansion at a ceremony in Surrey, BC Thursday, April 25, 2019. Pictured is Lisa Potopsingh, associate director Revery Architecture. Jason Payne / PNG

Named the SFU Sustainable Energy Engineering building, the 220,000-sq-ft, five-storey building is dedicated to students enrolled in the universitys new sustainable energy engineering degree programs, which offers an interdisciplinary approach to energy engineering by integrating science, environmental, and business courses.

This new approach is intended to prepare students to work in clean technology sectors, such as smart cities, clean power generation, and sustainable food and water solutions.

This is where the youth of the region are, said Heeney, who also worked as an architect on the project. A third of B.C.s youth under age 19 live in Surrey, and many of them are from first-generation families, said Heeney. 

There is sufficient space in the new building for 440 new full-time equivalent students and 40 faculty and staff.

The building was one of the final designs by Bing Thom, an internationally-celebrated Vancouver architect who suddenly passed away in 2016. Thom was also behind the design of the adjacent Central City complex and Surrey City Centre Public Library, and other prominent buildings in the region such as Guildford Aquatic Centre, UBC Chan Centre for the Performing Arts, Aberdeen Centre, and Westbanks upcoming The Butterfly Tower.

Hassan Murad, a 25-year-old graduate of SFU’s Mechatronics robotics program, and Vivek Vyas, 24, were on hand to demo “Oscar,” an intuitive garbage and recycling station that uses artificial intelligence.

Facilities within the new visually prominent building include modern wet and dry teaching labs, classrooms, study spaces, offices, and a 400-seat lecture hall. A large light-filled central atrium space brings together all of these spaces while providing students, faculty, and the public with a significant common area.

Simon Fraser University is grateful for the significant support received from the federal and provincial governments for this much-needed Surrey campus expansion, said Andrew Petter, president and vice-chancellor of SFU, in a statement.

The building, and program, in which students focus on three areas, smart cities, clean transportation and sustainable manufacturing, may well become a magnet for students from across North America.

The new facility and program will enable SFU to generate the talent and research that BC and Canada require to be leaders in the development and application of clean technologies and sustainable energy solutions.

The original SFU Surrey campus space within Central City spans 470,000-sq-ft of floor area, and there is a need for continued expansion due to student overcapacity. Future phases with a combined budget of $355 million will expand SFU Surreys presence in the city centre with a Science Health and Technology Building, a Business Management Building, and a Graduate Facility Building.