Date: January 25, 2010
UVic Opens First Peoples HouseL-R: University of Victoria Chancellor Murray Farmer, BC Lieutenant Governor Steven L. Point, Mrs. Gwendolyn Point and UVic President David Turpin officially open the ceremonial doors of First Peoples House.
The University of Victoria opened its striking First Peoples House today with patrons, the Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia Steven L. Point and his wife Gwendolyn Point in attendance.
“With the opening of UVic’s First Peoples House, we fulfill one of our most significant strategic initiatives,” says UVic President David Turpin. “This beautiful structure in the heart of our campus demonstrates our strong commitment to building on and expanding our valued relationship with Indigenous communities. The First Peoples House provides a welcoming and supportive space for the community and an academic and cultural centre for Indigenous students, faculty and staff. It will play an important role in linking UVic with the Indigenous communities in the years ahead.”
Joining University of Victoria Chancellor Murray Farmer and UVic President and Vice-Chancellor David Turpin at the opening, were provincial Minister of Healthy Living and Sport and MLA for Oak Bay-Gordon Head Ida Chong, provincial Minister of Labour and MLA for Saanich North Murray Coell, and federal Minister of State for Sport and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands Gary Lunn.
The $7-million project received a $2.6 million funding contribution from the province of British Columbia, support from the Bank of Montreal and TD Bank Financial Group, as well as private donations.
The 1,161 square-metre (12,500 square-foot) building houses
The design of First Peoples House, by Alfred Waugh Architect of Vancouver, incorporates suggestions heard during consultations with First Nations leaders as well as Indigenous faculty, staff and students. Following the Coast Salish style, unique features include rammed earth walls, cedar plank exterior cladding and Indigenous carvings and artwork. The ceremonial hall was built in the Coast Salish Long House design.
“The house provides an important central gathering space and a place to connect on a regular basis with the elders,” says Fran Hunt-Jinnouchi, director of UVic’s Office of Indigenous Affairs. “Although our Indigenous students, staff and faculty are from different nations across the country, we all now have a sense of home, of place and of a stronger connection to the local communities.”
Designed and built to meet the university’s high standards for energy efficiency and sustainability, First Peoples House is expected to achieve gold-level certification in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating program. Sustainability features include a green roof, storm retention pond and natural ventilation. The site is landscaped with native trees and vegetation, including Garry oak and Douglas-fir trees.
The number of Indigenous students at UVic has increased over 700 per cent since 1999, to an estimated total in 2009 of 800 undergraduate students and 100 graduate students.
High-resolution images are available upon request.
UVic Opens First Peoples House Images
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