VIU prepares for the future with new sciences and trades buildings

By Spencer Sterritt
October 10, 2018 - 3:33pm Updated: October 11, 2018 - 11:32am

B.C.'s advanced education minister Melanie Mark touring the new health and sciences building on Wednesday.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

Both the new health and sciences, as well as the trades building, shared much of the cost with the province and the federal government, nearly evenly.Spencer Sterritt/NanaimoNewsNOW

NANAIMO — With two new buildings at Vancouver Island University's Nanaimo campus, students will be even better equipped to handle the transition from the classroom into the real world.

The grand opening for the $41 million health and sciences building and their $20 million marine, automotive and trades building was held Wednesday morning, with dignitaries from the province and university applauding the new tools students will have to capitalize on their education.

With new simulation labs and better equipment to practice with, fourth year nursing student Candace Boland said generations to come will be better prepared to take their first steps into a busy hospital.

“It's the closest to feeling like you're in a hospital as you're going to get, without actually being in a hospital. It's just like being there, our hearts are racing, we get flustered, but it's pretty cool,” she said.

Before, VIU nursing students would be crammed into their previous building without enough space to do group projects. Now there's ample study rooms and bigger classrooms to accommodate such a crowded field of study.

Boland said it's nice to be able to study in a better building, but there's also serious ramifications for hospitals decades in the future.

“Right now, creating buildings like this so we can have more people in school and getting more instructors means we're going to have the health care professionals we need in 20,30 years.”

The fourth floor of the building houses VIU's chemistry department and other sciences, moving them from tightly clustered workshops further up the hill. 

The new trades building, just down the hill on campus, is also designed to ensure there's enough trades people to handle an increasingly complex world. It has room for nearly 130 extra students and expanded space to dig into their studies.

Second year automotive apprentice Thomas Flegel said his automotive classes are “almost like walking into a dealership.”

The cost of both new buildings was split between the province of B.C. and federal government, with assistance from VIU donors.

B.C.'s minister of advanced education Melanie Mark said providing new buildings is one of the best ways to foster new educational opportunities.

“Students are saying they need access to 21st century equipment. We have to innovate and work together, we see sciences working with the trades and vice versa. Building facilities like this sends the signal that we're open for business.”

The health and sciences building opened for Labour Day 2018, while the renovations to the automotive building were open to the students over the last year.


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