Windsor Plywood Foundation Gift Transforms VIU's Nanaimo Campus

Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre

Denis Hamel, Devin Heck, Denman Vinet, Adam Garner, Glenn Frederiksen and Robert Brill, Level 2 Carpentry apprentice students, pose with the new Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre sign.

September 18, 2019 - 3:00pm

In recognition of a leadership gift in support of students, the Trades Discovery Centre now bears the Windsor Plywood name.

The foundation for successful careers in the trades is being built at Vancouver Island University (VIU), and a leadership gift by the Windsor Plywood Foundation is supporting students to get the high-quality educational experiences needed to succeed.

The Trades Discovery Centre, which opened in 2018, includes the carpentry shop, instructor offices, classrooms, the student commons and a lab area for industry, students and faculty to collaborate on innovative research projects. The new building is not only expanding the footprint of two high-demand trades programs – Carpentry and Motorcycle and Marine Technician – but it is also giving students increased access to collaborative spaces and a better learning environment.

“We’re really seeing students taking advantage of every aspect of the new building, from working on extra projects in the shops, to forming study groups in the new student commons area,” says Cameron Frenette, Chair of VIU’s Carpentry program. “The new shop provides a nicer working environment, and having classrooms in the same building ensures a seamless transition between classroom learning and hands-on learning.”

Recognizing the importance of helping trades programs continue to grow and expand, the Windsor Plywood Foundation made a generous gift to help complete the Trades Discovery Centre and outfit it with the equipment and technology needed to support high-quality programs. In recognition of this support, the building has been renamed the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre.

“The Windsor Plywood Foundation is eager to give back to the communities we live and do business in,” says Cathy Brown of the Windsor Plywood Foundation. “The culture of giving runs deep at Windsor Plywood – we believe it is important to support our communities where we can. With the transformative role education plays in the lives of so many VIU students, we were happy to support this cause.”

The Windsor Plywood Foundation has a long history of giving to VIU, starting when the institution was still Malaspina University-College. The foundation supports student awards, Milner Gardens and Woodland, the nursing simulation suites, social justice programs and a number of other initiatives.

“We are so grateful to have Windsor Plywood Foundation as a valued community partner,” says William Litchfield, Executive Director of the VIU Foundation. “With their support over the years, they have impacted the lives of countless students. This latest generous gift has enabled world-class training in high-demand trades to students in a beautiful new space.”

The Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre is part of three major capital projects that broke ground on the Nanaimo campus in 2017, thanks to funding from the federal and provincial governments and community partners. The centre is part of the Marine, Automotive and Trades Complex project, which also includes a massive renovation to the building the Automotive program is housed in. The other two projects are the Dr. Ralph Nilson Centre for Health and Science, named after President Emeritus Ralph Nilson, who retired in June 2019; and a District Geo-Exchange Energy System.

Last spring, Imagine VIU, a campaign to equip and complete the new spaces and support the students learning in them, launched.



Jenn McGarrigle, External Communications Advisor, Vancouver Island University

P: 250.740.6559 | C: 250.619.6860 | E: | T: @VIUNews

VIU Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre

Tags: VIU Foundation | Announcements

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