NANAIMO, B.C. — Vancouver Island University (VIU) has smashed its fundraising goal to complete and equip three new buildings on campus, allowing the school to fund more than anticipated.
The Imagine VIU campaign raised $7.3 million in the past two years despite its initial goal of $5.5 million to upgrade classrooms in new facilities. The buildings, the Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science, the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre and the District Geo-Exchange Energy, opened in 2018.
The fundraising allocated $2 million for new scholarships, awards and bursaries for students. Another million was raised for new equipment and other program supports in the trades, sciences and health-care areas. More than $1 million went to new research projects.
The upgrades also included a district geo-exchange energy system, making the school more energy efficient. The system has reduced energy needs at the Centre for Health and Science by 75 per cent, helped the facility achieve LEED Gold certification.
VIU officials said the new buildings have also helped VIU respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The new Trades Discovery Centre, alongside the other new facilities, help facilitate physically distanced, hands-on training opportunities for students.
The Centre for Health and Science’s specialized labs enabled VIU to become a designated manufacturing site for topical hand sanitizer. It also houses the Applied Environmental Research Laboratories, which focus on measuring the chemical determinants of environmental and human health.