Sneak peek showcases construction on campus

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A crane gently lowers a pre-cast concrete slab into place between the steel framework of ThreeC+, Western’s new Engineering building. Piece by piece, construction workers are shaping the building to become a campus showpiece of collaboration among engineering and related professions and disciplines.

Among the skilled trades on site, 41 of them are local and the construction is on target for interior work to start in November and facility opening by September 2018.

On the opposite, north side of campus, the Western Interdisciplinary Research Building (WIRB) is even nearer to completion.

Most of the building is sealed, mechanical systems already sit atop the roof and add air conditioning to some working areas. Paint colours some of the interior walls. With seven storeys of classrooms, labs and collaborative lounge space, move-in is expected by the end of this year.

Both construction projects – valued at about $45 million each — were host to a sneak peek summer preview on Thursday with visits by MPs Kate Young (London West), Parliamentary Secretary of Science, and Peter Fragiskatos (London North Centre).

Half of the construction funding comes from funding comes from the federal Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund.

The Engineering building will help accommodate an enrolment growth of about 25 per cent in the next few years. It will add classroom space and research labs for Software and Mechatronic Systems Engineering, as well as offices for the faculty’s signature Institute for Catastrophic Loss Prevention and the Boundary Layer Wind Tunnel.

Construction processes and facility design will give it the highest possible environmental ranking as a LEED Platinum building, project manager Boris Pertout said.

The WIRB is a 120,000-square-foot building that will help world-class researchers collaborate across disciplines and specialties. It will be the new home for the Research Cluster for Cognitive Neuroscience and the Rotman Institute of Philosophy. Its high environmental rating will make it a LEED Gold building.

During the summer tour of both sites, Western President Amit Chakma noted that the working spaces, labs, classrooms, lounges and meeting areas are all designed to encourage greater interaction between and among disciplines.

“It’s all about creating a collaborative space where excellent scholarship and research can take place,” Chakma told the MPs.

Fragiskatos said, “This is not just a great story for construction and the local economy; it’s a research story as well. If we want to attract global talent, this is the kind of investment that will draw people here and make a difference.”