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Evolving infrastructure

Providing a 21st-century learning environment

By Sandy Woolfrey-Fahey

At Memorial, people are our greatest asset and our students, educators and staff depend on a 21st-century learning environment for success.

In support of this goal, Memorial is continuously evolving to meet the needs of our people, particularly through our infrastructure.

“Despite fiscal challenges, the last decade has seen significant infrastructure growth across our campuses,” said Kent Decker, vice-president (administration and finance). “As we enter a new decade, it is enlightening to reflect on the additions and expansions we have accomplished together.”

Growth and expansion

Many stories from recent years highlight this commitment to enhancing our learning environment and contributing to success.

During the last decade, Memorial opened a new Faculty of Medicine building on the St. John’s campus; launched the Signal Hill Campus; opened new residences at Grenfell, St. John’s and Signal Hill campuses; and the Boreal Ecosystem Research Facility at Grenfell Campus.

Memorial expanded the Ocean Sciences Centre; added a two-story addition to the Marine Institute for a new simulator;, opened the Holyrood Marine Base; and acquired the Pye Farm in Labrador.

Renovations provided enhanced spaces, such as the new learning commons in the Queen Elizabeth II Library; and the Internationalization Office. Work is also ongoing for new space for the Aboriginal Resource Office on the St. John’s campus.

Additionally, ongoing vital projects like the Core Science Facility and the Animal Resource Centre have reshaped the St. John’s campus and will significantly enhance the learning landscape at Memorial once open.

Increasing IT infrastructure demands

Infrastructure investment doesn’t just apply to buildings – it’s also behind the walls and around campus as part of Memorial’s complex information technology (IT) infrastructure.

The demand for fast connection is ever-growing as 35,000 devices connect daily to Memorial’s wired and wireless networks. As well, faculty, students and staff use and share large amounts of data, which includes 15 petabytes of storage through Memorial’s data centres.

“Over the last decade, we’ve invested millions of dollars to meet IT demands, including our wireless and wired networks, strengthening the security infrastructure, ensuring IT equipment is maintained and renewed and updating data centre capacity,” said Steve Greene, chief information officer and manager of information technology.

A lens of sustainability

The university also recognizes the importance of the sustainability of our resources.

“Through our infrastructure work, we have a global responsibility to mitigate our environmental impact and reduce our carbon footprint,” said Ann Browne, associate vice-president (facilities).

A positive example of sustainability is the energy performance contract between Honeywell and Memorial. The project, valued at $28.4 million, began in the fall of 2017 and is fully guaranteed and self-funded through energy savings.

The project has focused on energy-efficient solutions designed to upgrade facilities, reduce operating costs, improve indoor air quality and reduce environmental emissions. The university continues to experience fiscal challenges and significant demands regarding deferred maintenance; the energy performance project is part of its management with $6 million of critical deferred maintenance factored into the scope of project work.

Memorial remains committed to working with its external partners like the provincial and federal governments and its public and private partners and using the funds collected through the campus renewal fees to identify new infrastructure opportunities, while addressing critical deferred maintenance.

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