Engineering Complex Phase II Opens

March 12, 2014 - News Release

The University of Guelph today officially opened Phase II of its engineering facility expansion, doubling student space for engineering programs on campus.

A total of 52,000 square feet of space in the Thornbrough and Richards buildings now accommodates classrooms, laboratories, study areas and design studios. Guelph Mayor Karen Farbridge and Liz Sandals, minister of education and MPP for Guelph-Wellington, attended the opening with students, faculty, staff, donors and incoming Guelph president, Franco Vaccarino.

The first expansion phase opened in 2012. The new addition will provide more space for seven growing engineering programs at Guelph: biological; biomedical; computer; engineering systems and computing; environmental; mechanical; and water resources.

“We are grateful to the commitment by our donors for investing in students,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee, who will complete his term this year.

“This generosity provides students with state-of-the-art facilities which will prepare them for the workplace. The ability to learn in modern facilities with the latest industry-standard equipment is integral to providing our students with the advantages they need to succeed in their careers.”

The new facilities will encourage collaborative learning, as students from varied disciplines work together on solutions to real-world problems.

“We worked with industry experts in designing these facilities so that our students can learn what it’s like to be an engineer before they even graduate,” said Tony Vannelli, dean of the College of Physical and Engineering Science.
“Engineering is a competitive field, and it’s this kind of experience that gives them a competitive edge as they look for employment and move forward in their careers.”

The School of Engineering has seen growth in recent years, particularly in sustainability and innovation research. Enrolment has increased from just over 500 students in 2008 to more than 1,400 last fall.

“The reputation of Guelph in engineering is expanding both among prospective students and in the industry, so we’re seeing a need to expand our facilities to meet the demand of incoming students,” said Hussein Abdullah, the school’s director.

“This new space will allow the culture of engineering at Guelph to stay relevant, design-focused, hands-on and focused on applied learning. We will be able to have more alumni and industry events. In short, the benefits from this expansion will have an impact on engineering at Guelph for many years to come.”

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338, or; or Kevin Gonsalves, Ext. 56982, or

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