Federal, Provincial Governments, U of G Celebrate Groundbreaking

November 27, 2009 - News Release

Michael Chong, MP for Wellington-Halton Hills, Liz Sandals, MPP for Guelph, and Alastair Summerlee, president of the University of Guelph, today celebrated the groundbreaking for the Axelrod Building renovation project. The project received federal and provincial funding totalling more than $33 million through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and Ontario’s 2009 budget.

U of G is refurbishing the 50-year-old building to create a cutting-edge teaching and research centre that will serve as the “hub” for the University’s environmental sciences programs. The revamped 130,000-square-foot building will be home to the newly formed School of Environmental Sciences and related programs of the Ontario Agricultural College and the School of Engineering. These programs are currently housed in a variety of locations on campus, including an older campus building in need of a major retrofit.

The project will reduce the university’s deferred-maintenance costs, significantly improve energy efficiency and sustainability, and provide space for the University’s planned increase in graduate enrolment in the environmental sciences.

In total, the governments of Canada and Ontario are investing $1.5 billion in 49 projects at Ontario’s colleges and universities through KIP and the Ontario 2009 budget.

“By renewing the facilities at the University of Guelph with the development of an environmental cluster, researchers in our community will have the tools they need to be global leaders and pursue world-class excellence,” Chong said. “It is one way that our government is working to strengthen Canada’s capacity to innovate and translate research into meaningful benefits for all Canadians.”

KIP is a two-year, $2-billion economic stimulus measure to support infrastructure enhancement at Canadian post-secondary institutions and is part of the $12 billion in new infrastructure investment allocated under Canada’s Economic Action Plan. The program is providing real economic stimulus and employment by creating local jobs for engineers, architects, tradespeople and technicians. It is also helping to generate the advanced technological infrastructure needed to keep Canada’s research and educational facilities at the forefront of scientific advancement.

“This Knowledge Infrastructure Program investment in the Axelrod Building/environmental science cluster will provide jobs for residents of the Guelph area, do energy-efficient rehabilitation and renovations of a significant teaching and research facility at the University of Guelph, and increase the capacity to protect our environment and participate in innovative new green technologies for the people of Ontario," Sandals said.

In its 2009 budget, the Ontario government committed to investing in infrastructure and designated $780 million to colleges and universities to modernize facilities and boost long-term research and skills training capacity over the next two years.

“The University of Guelph is a national leader in environmental research and teaching," said Summerlee. "This project will allow us to cluster our expertise in a state-of-the art facility and to showcase our innovations and green technologies. It will also facilitate future opportunities to improve the quality of our air, water and soil; help us leverage additional research funds and support from other agencies and the private sector; and stimulate our local economy by creating jobs.”

More information about KIP, including program criteria, application instructions and a list of the approved projects, is available online.. Information on how the Ontario government is helping to build and revitalize infrastructure across the province is also online.

For further information (media only), contact:

Media Relations
Industry Canada

Lynn Meahan
Press Secretary
Office of the Honourable Tony Clement
Minister of Industry

Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and
Tanya Blazina
Senior Media Relations

University of Guelph:
Lori Bona Hunt
Associate Director (News Service)
Communications and Public Affairs
519 824-4120, Ext. 53338

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