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Date: November 24, 2008

Government Opens UVic Climate Change Research Building

Government of British Columbia News Release

VICTORIA – The University of Victoria’s $66.6-million Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences building, which will provide a home for the university’s internationally renowned climate change researchers, was opened officially today, adding another world-class research facility to the campus.

“The Province’s multi-million dollar investment in UVic’s largest building is providing a home for scientific researchers and a powerful new telescope, helping make UVic a Canadian leader in undergraduate astronomy education,” said Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. “Our investment is yet another example of this government’s commitment to building world-class facilities at B.C.’s public post-secondary institutions, giving our students more choices, more access, closer to home.”

The total cost for construction was $66.6 million, with the government contributing $37.5 million. Bob Wright, president and CEO, Oak Bay Marine Group of Companies, donated $10 million toward the cost of the building, to be known as the Bob Wright Centre, Ocean, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences Building. The remaining $19.1 million was provided by UVic and other donor funding.

“Our government understands the importance of research to every aspect of this province’s future, which is why we have made record investments in this area since 2001, including nearly $49 million for ocean research at UVic,” said Ida Chong, Minister of Technology, Trade and Economic Development, who is responsible for research. “UVic scientists have already made huge contributions to what we know about our planet and our universe, and these new facilities will provide the environment to expand that knowledge faster and further.”

“The new Bob Wright Centre showcases our position as a global centre of excellence in ocean, earth and atmospheric research, and will take the University of Victoria’s scientific research and teaching to an even higher level,” said UVic president David Turpin. “We are grateful to the provincial government for its commitment to scientific research and to this outstanding new facility, and to Bob Wright, whose vision and generosity have made this building a reality.”

The science building has united under one roof all members of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, including new clean room facilities for ocean chemical analysis. It also houses the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis, synthetic chemistry researchers, state-of-the-art classrooms, lecture theatres, teaching and research labs, and faculty and graduate offices in a 12,674-square-metre space.

“A lifelong passion and affinity for the sea has underscored my concern about the impact of global warming on our oceans,” Bob Wright said. “As a community and as a country, we must expand our investment in solid scientific research so we can pass on a healthy environment for generations to come.”

Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $1.5 billion in campus capital expansion, opened six new universities, added 32,000 seats, and increased operating funding to post-secondary institutions by 40 per cent.

Media contacts:
Richard Chambers, Communications Director at (250)952-6508 or cell 250-361-7241
Val Shore (UVic Communications) at 250-721-7641 or vshore@uvic.ca

New Science Centre Opens
Robert H. Wright: Biographical Notes

UVic media releases and other resources for journalists are available on the World Wide Web at http://communications.uvic.ca/media

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