$126-million building is the first phase in Surrey Campus Expansion

Chris Ho / The Peak

By: Paul Choptuik, News Editor

With its expansion complete, SFU Surrey celebrated its new building with a grand opening on Thursday, April 25. The $126-million building was first announced in 2016 by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and then-premier Christy Clark.

Members from all levels of government, including current Premier John Horgan, Member of Parliament Joyce Murray, and Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum joined Indigenous leaders from Kwantlen First Nation and SFU administrators at the opening.

Speaking to the audience who had gathered in the spacious new 400-seat lecture hall, Premier Horgan noted the importance of government funding, but stressed the role the community played in the formation of the school.

“I think we all need to leave this place today with the understanding that it was community activism that created the opportunity for a campus here at SFU [ . . . ] it was the seed of the idea and the enthusiasm of community that planted that seed and allowed it to grow.”

Afterward, media and dignitaries were given a tour of the new building. Live demonstrations of research and projects being done by SFU students, faculty and alumni were set up for viewing, and in some instances, participation.

Premier Horgan tried his hand at recycling with the help of an interactive AI. Created by SFU alumni Hassan Murad and his partner Vivek Vyas, Oscar, their waste-sorting AI assistant, identifies an object held up to its scanner and directs the user where it should be placed. Oscar lets the user know if they’ve initially made a mistake, as it did for Horgan, and commends them when the item is sorted correctly.

According to figures distributed to the media, the 20,458 square-metre facility will be able to accommodate up to 440 student spaces. In addition to providing additional space for SFU’s Mechatronic Systems Engineering (MSE) program, the building will host a new Sustainable Energy Engineering (SEE) program. In a video shown during the opening ceremony the Dean of Applied Sciences, Dr. Eugene Fiume elaborated on the new programs goals.

“The Sustainable Energy Engineering program is intended to be a world-class program in both the education and mentoring of students so that they can have a strong influence on not just the technology of sustainable energy but also work in areas in policy, and environment, and in business,” Flume said.

Applications for internal transfer into the new program for Fall 2019 opened on Wednesday, May 1.