Please Enter a Search Term

Infrastructure boost

Biologist Dr. Dawn Marshall gives the lowdown on labs to Dr. Chris Loomis and Education Minister Dr. Darin King.

By Kelly Foss

An additional $9.7 million will be invested this year for infrastructure upgrades at Memorial’s St. John’s and Corner Brook campuses. The funding will allow Memorial to upgrade laboratories, purchase equipment, address maintenance projects and improve accessibility for persons with disabilities.

Darin King, provincial minister of Education, made the announcement on Jan. 25.

“With this funding, infrastructure will be improved, laboratory quality will be enhanced, and individuals with mobility issues will experience improved access,” said Minister King. “These upgrades will further modernize the university for the benefit of students, faculty and staff and will contribute to Memorial University’s reputation as a world-class institution.”

The funding includes $7 million to upgrade some of the many science laboratories and equipment at the St. John’s and Corner Brook campuses.
Several science laboratories will receive new fume hoods and control devices, modern low temperature freezers, biological storage systems, electronics and other equipment. With this new state-of-the-art equipment for science research and teaching, graduates in biology, chemistry, medicine and other fields will receive the best training needed to succeed in their professions.

As well, $457,000 is being allocated for the purchase of a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system which uses high-powered lasers to meld together particles such as plastic, ceramic and metal for rapid product prototyping and low-volume manufacturing for actual use. The SLS machine will also strengthen the ocean technology and engineering technology programs at the Marine Institute and College of the North Atlantic, thereby supporting the province’s Oceans Strategy and its commitment to enhancing research and development capabilities.

The announcement includes a further $2 million this fiscal year to allow Memorial to address its deferred maintenance projects, building on the annual $4 million originally allocated in Budget 2009.

Another $300,000 is being invested to support Memorial University’s Accessibility Projects plan. Ruth North, co-ordinator with the Glenn Roy Blundon Centre for Students with Disabilities, said the funding will allow the university to address accessibility projects on the St. John’s and Grenfell College campuses.

“This will include upgrading the elevator controls in older campus buildings (such as Corte Real and Burton’s Pond apartments) to enhance wheelchair accessibility and investigate the possibility of proximity reader capability,” she explained. “As well, the university will continue to install new automated door openers and upgrade walkways, curbs, ramps, and railings for persons with disabilities and provide access.”

This additional funding, together with the annual funding for deferred maintenance, brings the total investment in Memorial University’s infrastructure this year to $13.7 million.