Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

February 25, 2000

Major new funding for building announced at Guelph

The University of Guelph will receive $45 million in funding from the SuperBuild Growth Fund for the University's proposed new Sciences, Advanced Learning and Training (SALT) Centre, Dianne Cunningham, Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced this morning. This award combined with the previously announced $28.6 million in funding for the Humber-Guelph Centre for Advanced Education and Training brings Guelph's total SuperBuild Growth Fund awards to $73.6 million.

"We applaud the launch of SuperBuild and consider it an important step in the province's reinvestment in the future of Ontario's students," said University of Guelph president Mordechai Rozanski in welcoming Cunningham to the U of G campus. "The new SALT Centre (together with the Humber-Guelph Centre) will help ensure that Guelph continues to be a top-quality, student-focused university committed to innovative programs, dynamic student-faculty interaction, and the integration of learning and research. Today's news reflects the dedication of our faculty, staff, students, and administrators to this vision of our University."

Through the SuperBuild Growth Fund, the provincial government will invest $742 million to build and modernize post-secondary institutions, improve the quality of education and help prepare for expanded student demand. "SuperBuild investments will help revitalize our colleges and universities so that Ontario students receive the high-quality education they deserve," said Cunningham. "This is much more than an announcement about bricks and mortar."

"The University of Guelph has been impressive in its planning for the future," said Brenda Elliott, MPP for Guelph-Wellington. "Today's announcement and the announcement earlier this week of $28.6 million in partnership with Humber College are examples of the University of Guelph's continued pursuit of excellence in post-secondary education."

Key components of the SALT Centre are:

A new multi-storey science-building complex

A flexible lecture theatre complex with a 1,000-seat capacity and new classrooms

Major renovations to the Axelrod Building

In addition, it is expected the SALT Centre will provide the space needed to expand the University's co-operative educational and experiential learning programs (Guelph's co-op program is now the third-largest in Ontario).

"This is a wonderful endorsement of our distinctive strengths," said Rozanski. "The proposal to develop the SALT Centre reflects the increasing demand by excellent students for U of G programs and our ongoing commitment to quality, innovation and accessibility. SALT is an ambitious and exciting renewal of our facilities and, while it will have a focus on science, it will truly be cross-disciplinary, providing "high-tech smart" classrooms, laboratories and a large lecture hall for faculty, students and staff in the sciences, social sciences, humanities and applied and professional programs from across the University."

Finally, in response to the 40% increase in student demand for university places over the next decade, and assuming the University acquires the needed human and financial operating resources, the construction of the SALT Centre will allow U of G to phase in an increase of up to 3,600 additional students, including current flow-through, over its base 1998-99 enrolment, to reach steady-state between 2005 and 2008. This enrolment will be in high-demand science programs as well as in innovative programs in the social sciences and humanities.

"In offering this capital funding, U of G is encouraged that the government has repeated its commitment that every willing and able student will have access to post-secondary education," said Rozanski. "We are confident that the government well recognizes that the next critical step to achieve this goal is increased operating support to renew and expand our faculty and staff and to enhance accessibility and affordability for students from diverse socio-economic groups."

SuperBuild Growth Fund projects were chosen through a competitive process requiring institutions to demonstrate the benefits of their project against several criteria, including demonstrated merit, student demand both for the institution and for the project's programs, as well as the project's long-term economic benefits to the community or region.

SALT's total capital cost of $89.8 million includes support from SuperBuild and from a combination of other public- and private-sector partners and is tentatively scheduled to be completed by fall 2003. This project will enhance the more than $350-million economic benefit the University brings annually to the City of Guelph and Wellington County by creating new jobs and opportunities for economic development in the region.

Media interviews with Dr. Rozanski may be arranged by calling Alex Wooley, Manager, Media Relations, 519-824-4120, Ext. 6982.

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