Rendering of the upgraded Biological Sciences ComplexRendering of the upgraded Biological Sciences Complex.Image courtesy of the University of British Columbia

The provincial government has committed $19.95 million toward upgrading and expanding the aging teaching and laboratory space used by life sciences students at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

“Our government invests tens of millions of dollars in innovation at public post-secondary institutions to build on the growth and diversification of our economy and advance technology,” said Premier Christy Clark. “Research at UBC offers students hands-on study opportunities that lead to exciting fields of discovery, expand our technology sector, and contribute to UBC’s leading position amongst world universities.”

The $19.95 million in funding from the provincial government was announced Jan. 18 by the premier during her keynote address at the #BCTECH Summit. It will enable UBC to complete an $80-million makeover of the Biological Sciences Complex, a facility that provides 2,000 students and professors with classroom and laboratory space.

Students taking life sciences at UBC learn about the fundamentals of human health, microbiology, disease, and infection, as well as plants and crops, biotechnology, and animal health.

“Whatever their focus, from micro-organisms to human beings, the life sciences are an area of research producing life-changing discoveries and new technologies that make our lives better,” said UBC Interim President Martha Piper. “The renewed teaching laboratories at the Biological Sciences Complex will ensure that UBC can continue to provide the best facilities for our students and maintain its reputation as a leader in the life sciences.”

The project consists of renovating the 40-year-old north wing of the building and replacing the 68-year-old centre wing. It will eliminate approximately $51 million in deferred maintenance costs and significantly mitigate seismic risk through structural upgrades. It expands on the first phase of the project, completed in 2011, which saw the redevelopment of the west and south wings. The provincial government contributed $30.9 million to the first phase of the project.