New Cowichan Campus offers welcoming learning environment

August 11, 2011 - 5:23am

There’s still time for students to register for fall classes at Vancouver Island University’s new Cowichan Campus.

“We’re thrilled to offer a beautiful new learning environment for students of all ages,” says Principal Maria Lauridsen.

“We’re ready for the fall semester which starts Sept. 6. With a bright new campus, this is an exciting time for individuals to think about upgrading their high school education or pursuing their post-secondary education. Our doors are open.”

VIU’s $27-million Cowichan Campus, located in the heart of Duncan, is part of the new Cowichan Place, a multi-functional complex that incorporates VIU, the Cowichan Aquatic Centre, School District 79 offices and Island Savings Centre - home to the Cowichan Community Theatre, Vancouver Island Regional Library and the local arena.

The Cowichan Campus offers a wide range of academic, applied career, technical, vocational and developmental programs, including 27 first and second year university classes. “While a majority of programs are more than 80 per cent full, there is room left in most of them,” says VIU Registrar Fred Jacklin.

In addition to university classes, the Cowichan Campus offers a full range of high school upgrading courses. “It’s a great opportunity for students who need to upgrade before pursuing a specific career path,” adds Lauridsen. “We try to be very flexible in our scheduling with full time, part time and some evening classes.”

Twenty-four students enrolled in the Practical Nursing program are the first students to benefit from the new facility. They love the bright, new three-storey campus, says Lauridsen, especially the new health science lab.

The campus also features a state-of-the art science lab, computer labs and several multipurpose classrooms, a 110-seat lecture theatre, cafeteria and kitchen, library commons, and many inviting study areas for students. The building has been designed to maximize the use of natural light, wood beams, glass panels, attractive fixtures and tiles.

“It is one of the most sustainable facilities on Vancouver Island both from a design, construction and operational perspective,” says Ric Kelm, Executive Director, Infrastructure and Ancillary Services. “We’re very proud of how it turned out and are in the process of applying for a LEED Gold certification. (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design).”

LEED is a rating system that recognizes performance in sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality.

Some of the most notable features of the new campus include a rooftop garden and park, native plant landscaping, geo-exchange heating and cooling, rainwater collection, solar hot water heating panels, and recycling and composting systems for students and staff.

Lauridsen invites prospective students to visit the new facility and talk to an advisor about courses or programs starting in the fall.

Registrations for the Sept. 6 start date are being accepted at the new campus located at 2011 University Way, Duncan. Prospective students can visit the Welcome Centre to obtain their ‘permission to register’ until Aug. 18 on Thursdays from 10:30 am to 1:30 pm, and from August 22 to 26, from Monday to Thursday, between 11 am and 1 pm.

Lauridsen adds that the new campus offers wonderful potential for future expansion. “There’s potential for growth in all areas of programming and increased capacity,” she says.

A grand opening for the Cowichan Campus is tentatively scheduled for Sept. 22.

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Tags: In the Community

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