Construction of a new Concordia Science, Research and Innovation Facility is now underway; all levels of government and community were present December 22 for the Ground-breaking Ceremony for the new building. The facility is set to be open by March 2018, so if you are a first or second-year student at Concordia, you should be excited.
The Canadian Minister of Infrastructure and Communities Sohi, who is also the MP for Edmonton Mill Woods; supported by MP for Edmonton Centre, Randy Boissonnault; spoke on behalf of the federal government initiative to build infrastructure and strengthen the foundations for scientific excellence in Alberta and Canada. The plan is an investment and a proactive response to a slowed economy. Through the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), Concordia was awarded a grant of 6.72 million dollars toward building a Science, Research and Innovation Facility. Almost two million of that will be used to renovate the existing science facilities, specifically the biology and environmental sciences laboratory space.
At the Ceremony, we heard praise for the initiative from both the retiring (or expiring, as he puts it) President Gerald Krispin as well as from the incoming President and current Vice-President Academic and Provost Dr. Tim Loreman. On average the word “innovation” was used 7 times per speech with The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities besting the other two speeches with a whopping 14 uses of the word “innovation” in his 3-4 minute address; well-done all-around.
Elder Jerry Saddleback from the Samson Cree gave an address as a representative of the Treaty 6 land on which Concordia stands, and on which the new building will be constructed. Elder Saddleback gave a short educational message on Cree language and culture as well as a blessing and prayer preceding the ground-breaking.
If you are around campus you may have noticed the construction site already but if you have not seen it, or if for some reason you thought that bright orange construction fences were simply in vogue, the new building will be located on the south-west corner of the campus right up to Ada Boulevard.
This new addition to Concordia will not only include new laboratories but new research initiatives as well. In anticipation of this project Concordia launched the Concordia Institute of Applied Research (CIAR) in September of 2016. The new space along with the CIAR will provide foundation for the implementation of Concordia’s first PhD program- Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. These initiatives are all pushing Concordia to become a stronger, research-focused university as outlined by the first goal for Concordia’s Strategic Research Plan: to promote an institution-wide culture of scholarship and research. This is something that incoming University President Dr. Tim Lorman says builds on his own goal of making Concordia University of Edmonton “the best small university in Canada.”