E7 Construction Receives Federal Funding

Cameron Soltys - 3T Mechanical
Posted on: January 28, 2017

On January 12, the federal government announced that they would be supplying $32.6 million in funding to help complete Engineering 7 (E7). The announcement was made by Bardish Chagger, who, in addition to being the Government House Leader and the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, is also Waterloo’s local Member of Parliament.

E7 is scheduled to open in Spring 2018. When it is complete, it will house the Biomedical Engineering and Mechatronics Engineering departments. It will also include much-needed student space such as a new EngSoc-run C&D and a student lounge. There will also be more design team space, including an indoor drone-flying area.

The building’s total cost is estimated to be $88 million. The funding so far has included $10 million from the University of Waterloo and $36.5 million from private donors. A referendum was held in 2014 asking students to support a $25-per-term fee, starting when the building was complete, to raise $1 million for construction; the referendum did not pass. University of Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur lauded the grant, and noted that the decision to begin construction before securing federal funding was in line with the university’s history of risk-taking.

The federal grant comes courtesy of the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), a $2 billion federal initiative to enhance the research facilities of Canadian post-secondary institutions. According to the goverment’s website, it is specifically designed to “accelerate strategic construction, repair and maintenance activities at universities and colleges across Canada.” E7 was, therefore, a prime candidate for funding. The new building is critical to housing the massive growth that the Faculty of Engineering expects in the immediate future; enrollment is predicted to increase from 9 400 to 11 000 students over the next four years.

Many other projects have also received funding through SIF. The University of Montreal has received several grants for various projects they are undertaking. Queen’s University received $31 million to upgrade its biomedical research facilities and expand its Innovation and Wellness Center. The University of Toronto was awarded $83.7 million for various projects across its three campuses.

The SIF will, hopefully, keep Canadian universities and colleges competitive, able to perform groundbreaking research and provide suitable learning environments for their students. The grant for E7 is a tremendous investment, bringing the end of construction and the opening of the Faculty’s newest building closer.