U of G Gets $33.6 Million for Environmental Hub

May 25, 2009 - News Release

The University of Guelph will overhaul an old building to create a cutting-edge environmental teaching and research centre, thanks to a $33.6-million investment from the federal and provincial governments.

The funding was announced today by Gary Goodyear, minister of state (science and technology), and Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph-Wellington, during an event on campus. The U of G project is one of 28 in Ontario that received $1.4 billion in support from the federal Knowledge Infrastructure Program as part of a joint government plan to repair and expand research and educational facilities at Canada’s colleges and universities.

“We are extremely grateful and pleased that our governments have recognized Guelph as a national leader in environmental research and teaching,” said president Alastair Summerlee. “This significant contribution will allow us to cluster our expertise in a state-of-the art teaching and research hub and to showcase our innovations and green technologies. It will also facilitate future opportunities to improve the quality of our air, water and soil.”

The project involves the retrofitting and renovation of the Axelrod Building to serve as the University’s environmental teaching and research centre. The revamped building will eventually house faculty and students from the Department of Land Resource Science, as well as components of the School of Engineering, the School of Environmental Design and Rural Development and the Faculty of Environmental Sciences. It will also be home to the Guelph Institute for the Environment, headed by David Anderson, former federal environment minister.

The environmental cluster will reduce the University’s deferred-maintenance costs and improve energy efficiency because many of the units are currently housed in portables or old greenhouses that are inefficient and expensive to operate, Summerlee said.

He added that the project will build on support from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, as well as other granting agencies such as the federal granting councils and the Canada Foundation for Innovation. “It will allow us to leverage additional research funds and support from other agencies and the private sector.”

The Knowledge Infrastructure Program is a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at post-secondary institutions across Canada. Projects are assessed according to their ability to generate economic activity and support job creation, enhance research capacity, support the attraction of new students and provide a better educational experience.

“This Government of Canada investment at these institutions will provide a significant short-term economic stimulus to Kitchener, Guelph and Cambridge and will create jobs in this region,” Goodyear said. “Our government is investing in innovation to create jobs, to help our economy recover quickly and to improve the quality of life for Canadians.”

Sandals added: "This is wonderful news for the University of Guelph, and it will stimulate our local economy by creating jobs. This investment by the provincial and federal governments will provide the leaders of tomorrow in the environmental sciences with up-to-date teaching and research facilities at the newly renovated Axelrod Building.”

For media questions, contact U of G Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, Ext. 53338 lhunt@uoguelph.ca, or Barry Gunn, Ext. 56982 bagunn@uoguelph.ca.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1