UBCO - robots, lasers & engineers

The building officially opened on Thursday, but students have been using the high-tech structure for several months.

With a budget of $68 million the 186,000 square foot Engineering, Management and Education building, is home to four faculties and schools: The School of Engineering, Faculty of Education, Faculty of Management and College of Graduate Studies.  It is the largest single project undertaken as part of the campus master plan.

UBC President Prof. Stephen Troope says it's exciting to think the people who will make the significant discoveries of the next generation are in the classrooms and labs of this new Engineering, Management and Education building.

“Students, researchers, and scholars will redefine our notion of the world by challenging concepts and engaging with students and society in new understanding. Together, they will improve our world from within these walls."

According to Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology John Yap, a worthwhile $40 million was invested into the building as part of the province's Skills and Training plan.

Westside-Kelowna MLA Ben Stewart, attended the unveiling of the building and states, “UBCO plays a critical role in the Okanagan, and this facility will ensure engineering, management and education students are able to train in BC to help meet the needs of our local and provincial economy, now and for the future."

Inside the EME building engineering researchers are developing the building blocks for light-speed computers. Green roof research is also underway and civil engineers are helping communities make decisions about how and when to replace aging and failing pipes, roads and bridges.

The EME building also provides spacious areas for students and faculty and staff to: socialize, study and interact.

For some this is still not enough.

Student spokesperson, Curtis Tse says, "The EME is a great building, we have study rooms where students can actually gather and do there presentations; is it sufficient? No, we are not there yet."

Tse believes the University, the city and province need to work with students to create more informal learning spaces.

"We don't really pull a book off the shelf to do the research anymore, so we need more informal learning spaces…. (because) we do have students studying in the pub, because the libraries are crammed, our Arts atrium is crammed, our existing study spaces are crammed."

Tse says he is currently sitting with members of the University and the city to work on new ideas for multipurpose study spaces.

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