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Province commits $5 million more to LU building

Ontario has added $5 million to its $1.5 million commitment toward Lakehead University's Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering and Sciences.

THUNDER BAY -- Ontario has allotted $5 million more to a science and engineering building that will be built on Lakehead University's local campus..

Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro more than tripled the province's previous commitment to Lakehead's Centre for Advanced Studies in Engineering and Sciences on Friday. 

The announcement will top up $1.5 million the province committed in November, along with $8 million from the federal government. For its part, the university will spend $9 million to build the $23.1 million project.

It will house 11 research chairs, an entrepreneurship centre and laboratories.

"We are, through advancements like today's, seeing some really continued evolution of the economy of Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario through the diversification into more knowledge-based jobs," Mauro said.

"It's necessary. The jobs tend to be really good, solid high-paying jobs. Knowledge-based jobs tend to ride out recessions and cycles in the economy." 

Construction has already begun on the former forestry building south of the university's library. A bridge will be built to allow students to walk between those buildings. 

Lakehead vice president of research and innovation Andrew Dean said the money will bring graduate students in science and engineering fields together under one roof.  

"One of the things that's really, really exciting about this building and one of the main focuses of the building is to provide training for graduate students," Dean said.

"On an annual basis, we anticipate as many as 80 graduate students will be accommodated in this, plus a number of post-docs. To me, that's where the future lies. The research is great and the commercialization is great but the training of our students to the next generation of researchers and scientists is really key to this project."

Construction expected to be completed by April 2018.