By Mabell, Dave on May 16, 2019.
Southern Albertans will be invited to a two-day celebration at the University of Lethbridge, when its long-awaited science building opens in September.
Special events at the $280-million facility, rising above the coulees along the Oldman River, will include hands-on experiences presented by Canadian science writer Jay Ingram and the Beakerhead educational organization.
Official opening events will be held Sept. 13-14 – while across the river, Lethbridge College will be entertaining city residents at its annual Coulee Fest on Sept. 14. More announcements are planned soon, university president Mike Mahon said Wednesday, including the science and academic building’s official name.
“This building was designed to showcase the incredible research activities being done here on the University of Lethbridge campus and to inspire future generations of scientists,” he said.
“From the very beginning, this building was envisioned as a science centre for southern Alberta and we are excited about celebrating the official opening with all of southern Alberta.”
Adding to the occasion, the university will partner with Economic Development Lethbridge and the Calgary-based Beakerhead Creative Society for the two-day celebration.
Building on those events, EDL executive director Trevor Lewington said the weekend will also serve to introduce the development agency’s latest “branding” initiative, “Brighter Together.”
“The underlying theme of the Brighter Together brand for Lethbridge is that innovation and leadership will take our community forward into the future,” he said.
The facility has already boosted the city’s economy, Lewington said, by providing hundreds of construction jobs – up to 500 at one time – with most of the work handled by local contractors and trades people.
Speaking from Calgary, science broadcaster and writer Ingram said Beakerhead presentations being brought to Lethbridge will include a virtual hike through the brain, and a “human gyroscope” for visitors to experience.
Beakerhead’s mandate – advancing education “at the crossroads of art, science and engineering” – aligns closely with the university’s plans to open the doors to science and engineering to all interested, he observed.
Added Mahon, “We have long been committed to creating a science centre that served the needs of our outstanding faculty and student researchers, and ignited a passion for science discovery throughout the region.
“I couldn’t be more excited that we are nearing the day of officially opening that long-held dream.”
While a handful of faculty members have already moved into part of the multi-level, 38,500-square metre building, contractors are completing roadway paving and landscaping work outside.
Over the summer, U of L employees will continue to move science laboratories and equipment into the new facility. Next up on the university’s agenda is completing plans and funding for redevelopment of large areas in University Hall being vacated during the process.
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