University receives government funding

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Photo by Dylan Hines

On Jan. 12, the Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Waterloo MP Bardish Chagger, along with Cambridge MPP Kathryn McGarry, president and vice-chancellor Max Blouw and various members of the Wilfrid Laurier University community, revealed that local post-secondary institutes will be receiving approximately $50 million from the federal government to establish greener campuses.

Announced by Chagger in the Paul Martin Centre on the Laurier Waterloo campus, the fund is part of a $2-billion fund for Canadian universities and colleges that was set up by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government of Canada.

The Liberal government of Ontario’s Premier Kathleen Wynne also contributed to the university’s projects.

$17 million of the funding from the federal and provincial governments will help to renovate Laurier’s Peters building and to help the campus use up to 30 per cent less energy.

The university is receiving this funding for two projects: the Lazaridis Hall project, which will include the repurposing and renovation of the Peters Building and the energy efficiency management project, which aims to improve energy efficiency on campus and will enable the university to reduce energy consumption by up to $1.4 million per year.

According to a news release published by the Government of Canada, the Lazaridis Hall project will result in new research and teaching labs, as well as more space to help train entrepreneurs, start-ups and management leaders in the technology and finance sectors.

The funding for the $21.8 million renovation project includes $11.87 million from the university and $9.93 million from the Government of Canada.

“These buildings will be environmentally sustainable and actually conserve energy and be really responsible in the way these buildings are maintained and built,” said Chagger.

Funding for the $8.89 million energy efficiency management project includes $4.45 million from the Government of Canada, $2.22 million from the Province of Ontario and $2.22 million from the university.

According to the Government of Canada, post-secondary institutions across the province will receive more than $1.9 billion from the national government, the provincial government, the institutions and private donors.

The federal funding will be allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which aims to enhance research facilities on Canadian university campuses and improve their environmental sustainability.

Colin Aitchison, vice-president of university affairs, said that any institution the size of Laurier should make their communities as ecologically friendly as possible.

“It’s a commitment the Students’ Union and the university have both taken so it’s definitely important. The Peters Building renovation will provide better opportunities for teaching and learning as well,” Aitchison said.

“This government, under the leadership of the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, is committed to investing in post-secondary institutions and that’s why all three institutions in the riding of Waterloo received investments through the Strategic Investment Fund and that is to ensure that students who are the leaders of today and tomorrow have access to the resources they need to succeed,” Chagger said.

According to Chagger, the beginning of these alloted funds are already being put into action.

They can be seen through the renovations being completed on the Laurier Peters Building.

The project is planned to be finished by the beginning of the spring season.

“[Students] are able to see these dollars actually growing their campus and investing in their campus right now every single day and we’re hoping that the project is completed by March or April,” said Chagger.

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