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The new view

Signal Hill Campus opening doors in September

By Rebecca Cohoe

Signal Hill Campus, the new name for the university’s location at the site of the old Battery Hotel in St. John’s, was approved by Memorial’s Board of Regents at its meeting on July 5, 2018.

With an initial focus on public engagement and innovation, the tenants, programming and partnerships based at Memorial’s iconic new location will help address 21st century issues by connecting the expertise and ideas of Memorial University students, faculty, staff and retirees, and the people and organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador. Leading-edge connective technology will help encourage participation from across the province, and beyond.

Construction on the main section of the building is now wrapping up.

Joining Memorial’s other campuses (St. John’s, Grenfell, Marine Institute, and Harlow), Signal Hill Campus includes conference and meeting facilities, space for Memorial units, and a number of bookable public convening areas, along with accommodations that have housed graduate students and Memorial guests since 2015.

The campus will officially open to the public in late September, but, in the meantime, staff members whose units will call Signal Hill Campus “home” have already begun packing up their boxes. They’ll begin moving this month and will begin to operate from the new space as soon as they’re in.

The initial occupants include flagship publicly engaged units including the Gardiner Centre, Genesis, the Harris Centre, the Newfoundland Quarterly, and the Office of Public Engagement, along with the Memorial University Pensioners Association and the community organization Business and Arts NL.

“Our entire history has been rooted in our connection to this province, and in collaboration between the university and the public.” —Dr. Rob Greenwood

These are all organizations with programming and mandates that involve regular interaction with the public. Each will continue with their existing programming, while also developing new ways to support and connect with the people and organizations of Newfoundland and Labrador.

The team responsible for managing the business and operations of the new facility moved in early this week.

Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director, Public Engagement, is nearly done clearing out his office in Spencer Hall. He’s worked from the space for over a decade, and so there was plenty of sorting and packing to do. Still, his excitement about the opportunities at the new location is clear.

“We see this as a major moment in the history of Memorial,” he said. “Our entire history has been rooted in our connection to this province, and in collaboration between the university and the public. Signal Hill Campus will embody that history of partnership and innovation.”

Along with the larger vision for the campus, the new site also helps solve some more practical challenges, including academic space quality at the St. John’s campus, the need for public engagement space, and a need for more options for graduate student housing.

“Five years ago, we made the decision to purchase the old Battery Hotel because we believed that this iconic location could be used to create benefits for people and organizations all across this province,” said President Gary Kachanoski.

“Today, we’re close to opening our doors on Memorial’s newest campus, but that’s only the first step. Memorial is a public university, serving the public good, and we view this as a long-term investment that will benefit not just Memorial, but regions all across Newfoundland and Labrador.”

Memorial is looking forward to sharing this exciting new development with the public and is planning a number of opening events this fall. More information, including details of specific events, website information, will be shared as available. In the meantime, the facilities at the new Signal Hill Campus are open for bookings through its website.

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