Faculty’s expansion plan responds to growing demand

Proposed site plan for the expansion of Engineering and Computer Science. (Dialog Design)

The increasing importance of engineering and computing solutions to our world, along with the surging demand from students and industry, are driving the tremendous growth our faculty has experienced over the last decade.

Since 2009, the number of undergraduate students at UVic Engineering and Computer Science has doubled, in part owing to the creation of new software, civil and biomedical engineering degree programs. These strides have begun to address what we’ve been hearing from the community for years: that the lack of a deep talent pool is limiting the advancement of the technology industry in British Columbia.

In fact, tech is the fastest-growing driver of BC’s economy. In 2018, recognizing the critical importance of tech-related jobs to the economy, the Province committed to funding an additional 500 undergraduate degree spaces in our faculty by 2022-23. This is expected to result in 125 additional grads per year by 2023.

The tremendous growth in our enrolment over the past decade and its expected continuation in the years ahead highlight the importance of ensuring that our teaching and research spaces also grow.

UVic’s expansion plans for the faculty, outlined on the Campus Planning website, include a six-storey extension to the existing Engineering and Computer Science building. Prominently located on Ring Road, it will be the first building encountered when entering the campus from the south. The extension will include an undergraduate design studio, graduate student workstations, environmental and hydraulics labs, building science labs, computation research labs, materials lab, geotechnical labs, biomedical engineering labs, active learning labs, computer labs, faculty collaboration space and office space for the Civil Engineering Department.

An adjacent two-storey, high-bay structures lab will accommodate the unique work of civil engineers and will include a wood shop, machine shop, welding bay and shake table. Construction is expected to begin in Fall 2021 and be completed by 2023.

We embrace our responsibility to equip our students so they are able to address today’s pressing global environmental challenges. We will lead by example – developing facilities that demonstrate our commitment to advanced, green-building design and construction, helping to further UVic’s position as a leader in sustainability, a key objective of its Strategic Framework.

Ultimately, our vision is to construct facilities that are regenerative and resilient, while embodying the very approaches and technologies that our students are studying.