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For Immediate Release


March 23, 2009

Office of the Premier

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development




VANCOUVER – Premier Gordon Campbell was joined today by faculty, staff and students to celebrate the reopening of the newly-renovated, $19-million, energy-efficient Friedman Building, the University of British Columbia’s state-of-the-art facility that houses the department of physical therapy and the school of audiology and speech sciences.


            “With record investment in all levels of education, we are working with our partners to provide more educational opportunities for students all across B.C.,” said Premier Campbell. “Providing modern, energy-efficient facilities such as the Friedman Building is critical in attracting and retaining students and teachers in health care fields like physical therapy, audiology and speech sciences, which ultimately means better health care for British Columbians.”


            The Province contributed $7.1 million toward the renewal of the Friedman Building. The refurbished space is part of the $120-million UBC Renew project that will see the upgrade of more than 36,500 square metres of space at the university by the end of 2010.


The facility offers a physical therapy gym with specialized equipment for people in wheelchairs, and physical therapy teaching labs – large spaces with mobile cameras and large overhead screens to give students instructions. UBC is planning for the future: the labs are wired for future distance education. The audiology and speech sciences teaching labs have sound booths equipped with digital screens wired to adjacent bench areas that provide learning and research opportunities.


“The renewed Friedman Building provides a state-of-the-art learning and teaching environment for physical therapy, and audiology and speech sciences students and faculty,” Murray Coell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development said. “This is a great example of renewing and reusing resources to create a high-tech teaching facility. We’re spending fewer tax dollars, and creating less impact on the environment than if the building was torn down and rebuilt.”


            The school of audiology & speech sciences at UBC is one of only a few in Canada. The school trains audiologists and speech pathologists for all of B.C., and for other parts of Western Canada.


UBC Renew is a partnership between B.C.’s oldest university and the Province. Since it was announced six years ago, seven of the buildings have been completely refurbished for a total cost of $71.7 million – and a savings of $53.7 million over replacing the structures. The work is expected to substantially extend the buildings’ lives, and has improved learning spaces for thousands of students each year, while reusing materials to reduce landfill waste, greenhouse gases and consumption of natural resources.


“In partnership with the Provincial Government, UBC through the Renew program revitalizes and modernizes existing buildings to make them more sustainable for the current and next generations of students,” said UBC President Stephen Toope. “This program has allowed us to provide improved learning and research facilities, and student spaces, helping to attract and retain students and faculty.”


Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $1.6 billion in new funding for more than 805 capital projects on post-secondary campuses around B.C., opened seven new universities, added 36,700 seats, and increased operating funding to post-secondary institutions by 53 per cent.










Bridgitte Anderson

Press Secretary

Office of the Premier

604 307-7177


Catherine Loiacono

UBC Public Affairs

604 822-2644

604 209-3048 (cell)



Craig MacBride

Public Affairs Officer

Ministry of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development

250 356-7882

250 213-1649 (cell)


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