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Environment Minister Peter Kent tours Life Sciences Building

Environment Minister Peter Kent tours Life Sciences Building

New research and teaching facility scheduled to open Fall 2011

Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent paid an informal visit to York's Keele campus yesterday to view first-hand the results of the government's investment in Canada's current and future scientists and researchers.

Above: From left, Environment Minister Peter Kent, senior project superintendent Chris Robinson and York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri review the building blueprints

Kent, who is also MP for nearby Thornhill, was on campus to tour the construction site of the new 160,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building. The facility's construction was made possible by $70 million in federal and provincial funding through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), part of the federal government's Economic Action Plan and the Ontario government's 2009 Budget.

Right: Kent congratulates Shoukri during a ceremony on the temporary steps leading to the Life Sciences Building

"York University is pleased to have received funding under the Federal-Provincial Knowledge Infrastructure Program," said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. "These investments are enhancing York's solid reputation as Canada's leading interdisciplinary research and teaching university, and strengthening our capacity for quality research and innovation."

The addition of the Life Sciences Building to the Keele campus will increase available learning and research facilities for students and faculty in high-demand science and health-related disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry and kinesiology.

"As Canada begins to emerge from global recession, the investment in state-of-the-art research labs is essential to creating and securing valuable skills jobs both now and in the future," said Kent. "By modernizing research and training facilities on Canada's college and university campuses, this will help build the foundation for future growth. Our government is working to ensure the best science and innovation opportunities as well as the world's best researchers are right here on Canadian soil."

Left: Kent addresses the group gathered for the tour

Construction of the Life Sciences Building is entering its final phase. Scheduled to open this fall, it will provide top-notch learning and research facilities for up to 1,700 additional undergraduate students and up to 50 new life science researchers. Leading-edge technologies, such as a radioisotope suite and a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for advanced imaging will be among the high-tech equipment contained in the new structure.

"This building will provide an incredible opportunity for York University to meet the growing demand by young Canadians who would like to study life sciences and health," said Shoukri. "It will also help our young researchers to build their careers and use their knowledge to advance the frontier of understanding for the world and it will create an opportunity to help economic development through innovation."

Constructed using Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) principles, the building uses strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency, carbon dioxide emissions reduction, indoor environmental quality and stewardship of resources.

The Government of Canada's Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at Canadian postsecondary institutions. It is part of nearly $16 billion in new infrastructure investment allocated under the Economic Action Plan since 2009.

Above: From left, York master's candidate Omar El-Ansari; Faculty of Health Dean Harvey Skinner; Vice-President Research & Innovation Stan Shapson;  Environment Minister Peter Kent; President & Vice Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri; Vice-President University Relations Jennifer Sloan; Sidra Khan, a second-year life sciences student; Janusz Kozinski, dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering; and Paul Marcus, president & CEO of the York University Foundation

The Government of Ontario also committed to investing in infrastructure by designating $780 million to colleges and universities to modernize faciilties and boost long-term research and skills training capacity.

By Jenny Pitt-Clark, YFile editor.

Republished courtesy of YFile – York University’s daily e-bulletin.