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January 25, 2010

Government Provides Additional Funding to Enhance Memorial's Infrastructure

An additional $9.7 million will be invested this year for infrastructure upgrades at Memorial University's St. John's and Corner Brook campuses. The funding will allow Memorial to upgrade laboratories, purchase equipment, address maintenance projects and improve accessibility for persons with disabilities. The Honourable Darin King, Minister of Education, made the announcement today and was joined by Dr. Chris Loomis, President and Vice-chancellor pro tempore of Memorial University.

"With this funding, infrastructure will be improved, laboratory quality will be enhanced, and individuals with mobility issues will experience improved access," said Minister King.

"These upgrades will further modernize the university for the benefit of students, faculty and staff, and will contribute to Memorial University's reputation as a world-class institution."

"This funding will allow us to undertake necessary upgrades to our laboratories and to make other significant infrastructure improvements, enhancing the student experience at Memorial University," said Dr. Loomis. "It also makes possible the acquisition of modern equipment for advanced research in areas of strategic interest to the university and the province, while providing benefits to other local post-secondary institutions."

The funding includes $7 million to upgrade some of the many science laboratories and equipment at the St. John's and Corner Brook campuses. Several science laboratories will receive new fume hoods and control devices, modern low temperature freezers, biological storage systems, electronics and other equipment. With this new state-of-the-art equipment for science research and teaching, graduates in biology, chemistry, medicine and other fields will receive the best training needed to succeed in their professions.

As well, $457,000 is being allocated for the purchase of a Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) system which uses high-powered lasers to meld together particles such as plastic, ceramic and metal for rapid product prototyping and low-volume manufacturing for actual use. This investment will benefit Memorial's engineering faculty, the Institute for Ocean Technology and the Ocean Engineering Research Centre. The SLS machine will also strengthen the ocean technology and engineering technology programs at the Marine Institute and College of the North Atlantic, thereby supporting the province's Oceans Strategy and its commitment to enhancing research and development capabilities.

The announcement also includes a further $2 million this fiscal year to allow Memorial to address its deferred maintenance projects, building on the annual $4 million originally allocated in Budget 2009.

To support Memorial University's Accessibility Projects plan, $300,000 is being invested to allow Memorial to upgrade old elevators and provide accessibility to Corte Real, Burton's Pond Apartments. As well, the university will continue to upgrade walkways, curbs, ramps and railings for persons with disabilities.

This additional funding, together with the annual funding for deferred maintenance, brings the total investment in Memorial University's infrastructure this year to $13.7 million.

"The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to a strong and vibrant university that has modern facilities all members of the community can access," said Minister King. "Government is making significant investments to ensure Memorial's growth and development. We want to attract the best and brightest, and with this additional funding we are making significant improvements to both campuses."

Since 2003, the Williams Government's annual funding for Memorial University has grown by over 86 per cent. Today's announcement follows recent Provincial Government investments for a new Genetics Centre, the expansion of the medical school and other professional schools, and a new academic building in Corner Brook.

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Media contacts:

Tara Power
Director of Communications
Department of Education
709-729-0048, 757-5953
Ivan Muzychka
Associate Director (Communications)
Memorial University of Newfoundland
709-737-8665, 709-687-9433

2010 01 25                                                    10:45 a.m.

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