Life Sciences Building officially opens

glass building

glass building

The new 160,000-square-foot Life Sciences Building officially opened Thursday on York’s Keele campus, creating opportunities for students and researchers in high-demand disciplines such as biology, chemistry, biochemistry and kinesiology.

The building was made possible through $35 million from the federal government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP) and a matching $35 million from the Ontario government’s 2009 budget. In Ontario, KIP represents a total Mamdouh Shoukri, Peter Van Loan, Reza Moridi, Harvey Skinner and Janusz A. Kozinski cut the ribbon to officially open the Life Sciences Buildinginvestment of nearly $2.4 billion to improve infrastructure at postsecondary institutions. The federal government invested $798.6 million in 56 KIP projects, while the province provided $981 million toward 49 of those projects.

From left, Mamdouh Shoukri, Peter Van Loan, Reza Moridi, Harvey Skinner and Janusz A. Kozinski cut the ribbon to officially open the Life Sciences Building

“We were thrilled to receive $70 million in Knowledge Infrastructure funding for this incredible space,” said York President & Vice-Chancellor Mamdouh Shoukri. “This investment will enhance York’s solid reputation as one of Canada’s leading interdisciplinary research and teaching universities, and strengthen our capacity for quality research and innovation.”

The four-storey building has leading-edge technologies for advanced biomedical and cellular imaging, electrophysiology and bioanalysis, and 120,000-square-feet of laboratories, where graduate and undergraduate students are welcome to work and learn. The research facilities will support increased enrolment in high-demand science and health-related disciplines.

Mamdouh ShoukriFaculty of Health Dean Harvey Skinner captured the excitement generated by the opening of the new Life Sciences Building in one word – “Wow”. “It will allow us to do game-changing research. We really tried to set this up to be an incubator for innovation,” added Skinner.

Mamdouh Shoukri

The building will also house specialized facilities, such as nuclear magnetic resonance, X-ray, mass spectrometry and radioisotope laboratories. The second floor has 40,000-square-feet of biology and chemistry teaching laboratories.

“We would like this building to be open to a variety of partnerships,” said Janusz A. Kozinski, dean of the Faculty of Science & Engineering. The fundamental areas in science are creative, innovative, multidisciplinary and Janusz A. Kozinskicollaborative. The building will allow for all four. “Dreams do come true,” he said. “Do not be afraid to dream aloud.”

Janusz A. Kozinski

At a time when the federal government was looking to make these types of investments, it was the colleges and universities which were most ready to move forward, said Peter Van Loan, leader of the government in the House of Commons and member of parliament for York-Simcoe, who spoke at the opening.

Harvey Skinner“The building is the foundation for future economic growth. The students who will walk through this building will be key in driving our economy in the future,” said Van Loan. “This project will allow York University to strengthen its reputation as an innovative leader in our community and across Canada.”

Harvey Skinner

Reza Moridi, member of provincial parliament for Richmond Hill, talked about the provincial government’s committed to postsecondary education and the economy. “The Ontario government’s investment in York University’s new Life Sciences Building has helped create 179 construction jobs in the short-term, 47 permanent positions and has given students and faculty the first-rate facilities they need to keep Ontario at the forefront of education, science and engineering.”

As a “fan of this great institution” Moridi added that the building would allow students to pursue research in a top-notch facility at York.

“York is located in the fastest-growing region in Canada, so we want to ensure that members of our York community have the resources and the infrastructure they need to not only learn, but also innovate,” said Shoukri.

For more photos of the event, visit the YFile Flickr gallery and scroll down to the photo gallery.