Green light for new Ivey building
By Communications Staff
Friday, May 29, 2009
The University of Western Ontario will break ground this summer on the first phase of a $100-million building project to house the Richard Ivey School of Business.
Today, the federal and provincial governments unveiled $50 million in infrastructure support for the first phase of a striking three-storey, world-class facility to be built on the west side of Western Road in front of Brescia University College.
Western Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Fred Longstaffe lauded provincial and federal governments for their $50-million investment in Western, which will be used for the construction of a $100-million building project to house the ever-growing Richard Ivey School of Business.
Phase two – also valued at $50 million – will be supported by $22.5 million from Western and $27.5 million through the efforts of Ivey fundraisers.
Construction of the glass and cut-stone structure, designed by Hariri Pontarini Architects of Toronto, will begin in August on a site where soccer pitches are currently located. The first phase will be completed by March 2011.
It was the best possible news for a faculty bursting at the seams and scattered over five different locations in London. Click to watch a video of today's announcement.
The world-renowned undergraduate program (HBA) has grown by 40 per cent over the past three years and is expected to double in size by 2013. The PhD program has tripled in size over the last decade.
To meet the demand, space must be increased by 60 per cent more than is currently available in its main building. Hemmed in on one side by a protected woodland and on another by a steep hill, expansion at the current site to handle this growth was considered impossible.
“Ivey has grown tremendously in recent years, and more growth is predicted in the coming years,” says Ivey Dean Carol Stephenson, adding Ivey will be in a position to “prepare for the growth that will support not only Ontario businesses, but also support Ontario’s and Canada’s economic growth.”
President Paul Davenport applauded the federal and provincial governments for supporting a project essential to the university’s future.
“Ivey is identified in our strategic plan as a signature area, and this is an incredible opportunity to take advantage of government investment that helps us build a strong university for the future,” says Davenport.
“Ivey’s impact is felt throughout the university, through its interdisciplinary programs and work across campus, and that means this project is important to all of us.”
Fred Longstaffe, Provost and Vice-President (Academic), said the university is “so fortunate” the federal and provincial governments understand the value of investing in Western.
“Ivey is a world-renowned leader in business education and is one of the key players at Western in bringing international stature and recognition to the university. We want Ivey to be, and continue to be, competitive at the highest national and international level.”
The shovel-ready project meshes with federal and provincial goals to get Ontarians back to work. Over the next 10 months, the project will provide almost 600 jobs in Ontario, more than half in London. Almost 200 jobs will be supported as the first phase winds up.
Provincial and federal politicians were on hand Friday to deliver the news.
“By investing at Western today, the Ontario government is supporting new construction and renovation projects that will create construction jobs in the short-term and provide more opportunities for our students to develop the skills they need for the jobs of the future,” says Deb Matthews, MPP for London North Centre.
According to Joe Preston, MP, Elgin-Middlesex-London: “This government of Canada investment in (Western) will provide a significant short-term economic stimulus to London and will create jobs in this region.”
The so-far unnamed new building has been designed using the latest green technology, and will be the second LEED-certified building on campus. The other is the Faculty of Engineering’s Claudette McKay-Lassonde Pavilion which is scheduled to open this fall.
Planning began in 2005 when Ivey launched a comprehensive strategy for growth, including identification of the need for additional space.
The intensity has ramped up since January 2008. A New Building Task Force conducted a review to ensure the new building would be on par with top business schools in Canada and internationally. From that process, the university attracted proposals from 18 architects, eventually selecting Hariri Pontarini Architects.
The current building is called the Richard G. Ivey Business School, named for the first chair of the Ivey Advisory Board, Richard G. Ivey. The building will retain his name. The Richard Ivey School of Business will also retain its name, and Ivey students will continue to graduate from the Richard Ivey School of Business at The University of Western Ontario.
University officials say the new building provides a naming opportunity. The Ivey family is aware of the building-naming opportunity and supportive of the new building initiative.
In the future, the Spencer Leadership Centre on Windermere Road will be used by Ivey solely as an executive education facility and for external events, such as weddings and corporate meetings.
While construction will displace the current soccer fields, planning is underway to move them to an area near TD Waterhouse Stadium.
While I think this is fantastic news for an important London "brand", I am deeply disappointed that this facility is not going downtown.
A $100M, 200,000 sq ft facility housing one of the world's best business schools would have done more for revitalization than the JLC, Market and Library combined.