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Medical program building site confirmed

The proposed new Island Medical Program building on campus will go ahead as planned and on schedule. By an overwhelming majority at its Nov. 22 meeting, the campus development committee (CDC) confirmed its earlier recommendation that the building be located beside the Cunningham Building when construction starts next summer.

The Cunningham site had originally been recommended by the 25-member committee in April and a building design for the site had been approved in September. In response to concerns expressed by some members of the university community about the location of the building in the wooded area beside Cunningham, the committee conducted a review of the proposed site following its Nov. 1 meeting. The decision to confirm the Cunningham site was made after examining the academic program requirements, location options, environmental concerns, and design commitments for the building.

The Island Medical Program is the UVic part of a collaborative initiative with the UBC faculty of medicine and UNBC that will address the critical shortage of physicians across B.C., particularly in remote communities and small urban centres. The first intake of students at UVic will be in January, 2005. Ninety-six students will be enrolled once the program is operating at full capacity.

The new building will contain anatomy, pathology and other labs needed for students to complete the first two years of their medical degrees. It will also include office and research lab space for faculty, and for physicians interested in collaborative research, as well as seminar rooms, lecture theatres and a computer lab.

The building site was chosen for its proximity to the Cunningham Building to allow the sharing of resources and equipment. The $11.9 million three-storey building will be ready for occupancy in October, 2004. The building footprint will encompass less than 10 per cent of the surrounding wooded area.