UNBC’s $31 million Teaching and Learning Centre was officially opened Friday.
The 92,000-square-foot facility houses 41 laboratories, eight classrooms, 11 study areas, 183 offices and a video conference room. The Teaching and Learning Centre will increase the university’s student capacity by 460 students.
The centre will be used by UNBC’s business, education, nursing, disability management, psychology, social work, physics and math departments.
“Isn’t it a beautiful building?” UNBC president Don Cozzetto said. “This is another example of the extraordinary commitment we have from the province of B.C. I’ve been at five universities in Canada and the U.S. and I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The provincial government provided $29 million of the funding to build the facility.
The interior of the Teaching and Learning Centre is dominated by a massive atrium which is open to all four floors. Towering windows and glass elevators allow the atrium to be permeated with natural light.
“One of the things that’s phenomenal is how beautiful a place it is,” Minister of Education Shirley Bond said. “This gives us room for an additional 460 students. With the wonderful things happening here … I don’t think we’re going to have trouble attracting another 460 students.”
Associate math professor Kevin Keen said his new office in the Teaching and Learning Centre is a big improvement on where he was before.
“But most importantly, we have a lot more space for students,” Keen said. “It’s a fantastic facility.”
The math department now has a dedicated room for teaching and there is improved access to labs, he said. He now has a computer lab located across from his office where students can work and have easy access to him for questions.
“Having that facility across from my office is fantastic,” Keen said. “That’s going to be a big improvement.”
Rhayna Archer, undergraduate representative on UNBC’s board of governors, said the centre provides a space students will want to be.
“For undergraduate students, the teaching and learning centre gives us an edge on other universities. We’re just really excited to see more space,” Archer said. “And it’s really quite beautiful as a building. That will provide an environment conducive to learning.”
Graduate student representative Monika Gorzelak said the centre is a boon for grad students.
“We have got a new grad student lounge,” Gorzelak said. “[And] now we can actually accommodate every graduate student who wants an office.”
International English student Alisa Nojima from Japan said she is impressed by the facility.