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New BCIT health sciences centre set to finally open in September

"The BCIT Health Sciences Centre has been designed to meet the needs of students today and for years to come."
BCIT's new health sciences centre is scheduled to open in September of this year.

The long-awaited opening of BCIT’s new health sciences centre is almost here.

The province announced today (June 29) the $88.2-million project will be ready for students and faculty in September.

When the project was originally announced, construction was set to begin in summer 2018 and completed in April 2020.

When asked by the NOW in December 2019 why the project was behind schedule, the province said numerous factors contributed to the delay including BCIT making an extra effort at cost control at a time of significant construction cost inflation across the Lower Mainland, the school undertaking further design program validation with faculty to ensure the new building continued to meet educational delivery needs and pointed to large projects of this nature taking significant time and resources to get it right.

More details were later revealed in April 2021 through a Freedom of Information Request (FOI) by the NOW.

It said BCIT’s health life sciences building received business case approval from the advanced education ministry in March 2017 before the provincial election.

Once the election had been called in April, the government went into interregnum and all work had been stopped.

Advancement of the design phase proceeded after BCIT’s consultant construction was completed in the summer of 2017.

There was also a three-month delay in the construction phase due to issues related to previously undiscovered poor soils conditions and about an additional six week delay with the underground infrastructure requirements as a result.

A new occupancy date of March 2022 was provided.

Now, six months later, the building will be operational this fall.

"The BCIT Health Sciences Centre has been designed to meet the needs of students today and for years to come," Burnaby-Deer Lake MLA and advanced education minister Anne Kang said in a news release.

"We're putting people first by increasing and improving the spaces and programs they need to advance their careers. We are making sure we are graduating well-trained nurses and care professionals who are ready to support the health-care needs of British Columbians."

The province says the building will support students in 32 health-care programs and will feature classrooms that enhance learning by simulating real-world settings, including replication of hospital workflows, living laboratories and simulation labs.

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, health science professionals working in hospitals, acute care, long-term care and community health centres to provide every level of health care, including prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation, have ensured that British Columbians have access to the quality care they need and deserve," B.C. health minister Adrian Dix added.

"The new BCIT Health Sciences Centre will provide the hands-on, real-work learning environments so that students can have the best training possible to provide the care people count on."

The facility comes in at four storeys at 111,460 square feet and is labelled as a low emission building.

- with files from Cornelia Naylor, Burnaby NOW