Ivey celebrates Phase One completion

The Richard Ivey School of Business celebrated the completion of Phase One of its new $110 million building Monday morning as the sounds of work on Phase Two banged away outside the windows of the building’s Grand Hall.

“As you can see, construction continues on the second phase of the building,” University of Western Ontario president Amit Chakma said, “but we think it is important to take stock of what we have already accomplished and to thank our governments, without whom, this project would not have been possible.”

Currently, 150,000 square feet of the eventual 270,000-square-foot facility sitting on Western Road are complete. The $110 million price tag, adjusted up in June 2011, will deliver a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Gold-level certified building.

“With our tremendous growth over the years forcing us to disperse our faculty, staff and students across five facilities in London, it became clear to us several years ago that we needed an inspiring, world-class facility that would bring people back together and foster collaboration if we were to continue to attract the best and brightest business leaders and academics to Ontario and to Canada,” said Carol Stephenson, Ivey dean. “This new facility allows us to do that.

“It is designed to attract, inspire, build a rich sense of community, reflect Ivey’s academic stature, and ensure it continues to compete successfully with business schools around the world.”

In May 2009, it was announced Western would receive support for the construction of the new Ivey building.

Among the crowd of 200-plus were several governmental officials – many with Western ties as Chakma proudly pointed out –responsible for the funding. Among those to address the crowd were Ed Holder, MP London West; Joe Preston, MP Elgin Middlesex London; Chris Bentley, MPP London West; Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre; and Joe Fontana, City of London mayor.

Among the crowd of 200-plus were several governmental officials – many with Western ties as Chakma proudly pointed out –responsible for the funding. Among those to address the crowd were Ed Holder, MP London West; Joe Preston, MP Elgin Middlesex London; Chris Bentley, MPP London West; Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre; and Joe Fontana, City of London mayor.

“We already know Ivey has the greatest business program in all of Canada,” Holder said. “Now, with where we are going with Phase One, we will have the greatest business school in Canada as well.”

Stephenson and Chakma, as well as other speakers, recognized the building as a symbol of Canada’s aggressive actions in the face of the 2008 economic downturn.

“In response to this crisis, our governments took bold action to provide stimulus funding to targeted areas in order to keep our economy moving,” Chakma said. “Through the creation of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP), universities across the country benefited from needed infrastructure spending.”

“We decided the best thing we could do was invest,” Matthews said.

Monday’s celebration recognized the $50 million in support through the Government of Canada’s KIP and the Ontario Government’s 2009 Budget as part of efforts to help modernize facilities and boost long-term research and skills training capacity at provincial colleges and universities.

The $110 million breaks down to $25 million from the federal government, $25 million from the provincial government, $22.5 million from Western and $37.5 million from private donations.

“This is not just a stimulus project,” Chakma said. “This goes beyond that. This is stimulus plus investment.”