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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
August 20, 2014
 
 
Canadian Excellence

Frequently asked questions



Why is Laurier building the Global Innovation Exchange (GIE)?

The Global Innovation Exchange facility on Laurierís Waterloo campus is a key component of Laurierís Campus Master Plan, which was endorsed by Laurierís Senate and approved by Laurierís Board of Governors. The GIE, and the people and programs housed within it, will meet the growing demand for enrolment in Laurierís business and math programs and support Canadaís future business leaders. The facility will expand Laurierís ability to deliver integrated and engaged learning opportunities to students at the local and global level.

This transformative building will be designed as a state-of-the-art educational facility, which will not only enhance Laurierís community presence through its University Avenue streetscape, but will also increase collaboration with Laurierís partners around the globe through technologically advanced classrooms and meeting spaces.

 
Where will the GIE be located?

The GIE will be located on the site of the former St. Michaelís school on University Avenue West, between Hemlock and Hazel streets.

 
Who will be moving into the GIE?

Programs, research and professional centres from Laurierís School of Business & Economics, as well as the Department of Mathematics, will be moving into the GIE. 

 
Why will Business and Mathematics be located in the GIE?

Housing Laurierís School of Business & Economics together with the Department of Mathematics in the GIE will not only meet increased enrolment demands for these programs, but will also enhance the synergies between Laurierís business and applied and financial math programs, serving as an iconic representation of the leadership role Laurier plays in Canadian and global business and Waterlooís technology industry.

Laurier has played a key leadership role in educating the business leaders of Ontarioís successful high-tech sector and Canadaís financial services sector. The GIE will build on these results with additional capacity to educate the business leaders of Ontarioís green economy and by creating new opportunities for innovation and collaboration.

 
How will Arts, Sci. & Grad. Studies benefit from this facility?

These Faculties will benefit directly from the GIE, as the facility will increase available space in the Arts, Schlegel and Peters buildings.

The GIE facility is also a benefit to the university as a whole, providing a modern state-of-the-art building, giving Laurier increased streetscape presence in the Waterloo community, increased visibility and exposure for the university overall, and an increased opportunity to collaborate with local organizations.

 
What will the building look like?

The GIE will be designed as a state-of-the-art educational facility with classrooms and meeting spaces equipped with technology to increase collaboration with Laurierís partners around the globe. The exterior design will enhance Laurierís presence on the University Avenue streetscape and serve as a landmark building that symbolizes the importance of the study and application of the management of innovation.

For more detailed information about the building, review the fact sheet and facility renderings on this website.

 
How big is the building?

The GIE is a four-storey, 225,000 square-foot building (approx.).

 
What services will be offered in the building?

Facility spaces will include a two-level auditorium with seating for 1,000, nine lecture halls (75-300 seats each), computer and math labs, meeting rooms, faculty offices, administrative offices, a cafť, student club support space and an atrium. 

 
Will there be new programs created?

A new program was recently developed that combines the Bachelor of Business Administration and BA Financial Math into a double degree. The first cohort began in 2010. This program exemplifies the type of synergy that already exists between the School of Business and Economics and Mathematics. Sharing physical space in the GIE will provide further chances among financial and applied math, finance, accounting, and economics (among others) to develop further partnerships for degrees that will be sought out by undergraduate and graduate students during the decades to come.

 
Are all Laurier faculty and staff permitted to use the GIE?

Yes. Meeting spaces and the auditorium may be booked by the university community through the universityís regular booking procedures. 

 
How does the GIE fit into the overall Campus Master Plan?

The GIE is integral to Laurierís Campus Master Plan, and was identified as the highest priority for capital investment put forward to the provincial government for investment in Laurierís Waterloo campus. 

 
Will there be environmentally conscious elements to the GIE?

The GIE is being designed to achieve a minimum LEED silver certification. Specific features of this level of LEED certification will be provided as facility specifications are finalized.

 
What will happen to the areas vacated by those moving?

The spaces created on Laurierís Waterloo campus by those moving to the GIE provide a positive opportunity to re-envision the Peters and Schlegel buildings and the mathematics area in Bricker Academic for academic and academic-support areas. A process will be put in place to develop a plan for the vacated space. Consideration will be given to the best use of space to support academic programming, faculty, students and staff. Updated information and opportunities for input will be provided as it becomes available. 

 
Will those at 255 King Street move back to campus at some point?

Any decisions about locations of various groups as a result of the new GIE facility will be examined in a holistic manner as part of the plan to develop the vacated space. Consideration will be given to the best use of space to support academic programming, faculty, students and staff. Updated information and opportunities for input will be provided as it becomes available. 

 
Will Peters & Schlegel occupants move to the arts buildings?

Any decisions about locations of various groups as a result of the new GIE facility will be examined in a holistic manner as part of the plan to develop the vacated space. Consideration will be given to the best use of space to support academic programming, faculty, students and staff. Updated information and opportunities for input will be provided as it becomes available. 

 
What interim moves are planned during construction?

The St. Michaelís building does not house faculty or staff offices; therefore, no interim moves are necessary during the construction period.

 
What are the plans for parking?

Regular updates about parking availability during the GIE's construction phase, expected to begin in May 2013, will be posted to this site as information becomes available.

 
When will construction begin?

Site preparation for the Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) building began in early September 2011, with a purple hoarding fence placed around the site to provide protection from construction activity.

Demolition of the former St. Michaelís school on the site was completed in 2012, and the project is now in the design phase. Design work will continue behind the scenes until the start of construction, which is anticipated to begin in May 2013. Updates will be provided as details become available.

 
When will people move into the building?

It is estimated that the construction process will take a total of four years, with plans to begin moving in the summer of 2015 for occupancy by the fall 2015 academic term.  

 
Will there be a skywalk across University Avenue?

The skywalk was part of a proposal to connect the GIE to the proposed Learning Commons facility; the skywalk will not be constructed until funding is secured for the Learning Commons.

 
When did Laurier acquire the St. Michaelís school building?

Laurier acquired the St. Michaelís school building in 2001.

 
When was St. Michaelís school built?

St. Michaelís school was built in 1954.

 
What other Faculties have had recent building renovations?

Buildings such as the Dr. Alvin Woods (Arts) and music buildings are among those that have recently been through a major refurbishment.

 
Who is designing the building?

Diamond and Schmitt Architects and David Thompson Architect. 

 
How much will the project cost?

The estimated cost of the GIE project is $103 million, including renovation costs to the Peters Building. 

 
Who is paying for the project?

John Milloy, the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, announced June 20, 2011 that Ontarioís provincial government would make a $72.6-million investment in the GIE. This represents the largest single capital investment in Wilfrid Laurier Universityís history.

Laurier has accelerated its fundraising efforts to raise the remaining $30 million of the project cost.

To discuss supporting the Global Innovation Exchange, please call 519-884-0710, ext. 2053 or email maitken@wlu.ca.