Premier Christy Clark announced a partnership between the B.C. government, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), Shannon and Chip Wilson and lululemon athletica worth $36 million to build a new School of Design to position B.C. as a global hub of design expertise.
"B.C. is known as a global hub for technical apparel design. The new Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design will ensure British Columbians are first in line to take advantage of new opportunities in this growing industry," said Premier Clark. "Our government is proud to partner with the Wilsons and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to build this new school."
Premier Clark announced funding for the project, which will allow the university to build on their current success, create new, world-class programs and increase domestic and international student intake, which are key components of B.C.'s International Education Strategy and Skills and Training Plan.
"The quality of programs offered by KPU is one of the reasons B.C. is nationally and internationally recognized for the excellence of our post-secondary education system," said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. "I am delighted that we can continue to work together to provide top class facilities and programs for students that will give them the skills to meet tomorrow's labour market needs."
The provincial government is partnering with KPU, and Shannon and Chip Wilson and lululemon athletica to provide funding of up to $12 million each to create a facility that will position KPU to respond to the predicted labour-market demand for skilled designers. The $12-million donation by Shannon and Chip Wilson and lululemon athletica is comprised of $8 million and $4 million respectively.
"Our province is the perfect testing ground for technical apparel - you don't have to go far to find inspiration," said Shannon Wilson. "Our vision is for B.C. to become the global hub for athletic performance apparel and recreational products, and the first step is to provide a place to cultivate design talent. I am thrilled that KPU and the Province have partnered with Chip and I as well as lululemon to achieve this."
"lululemon is about people, leadership and creativity combining to elevate the world. This partnership is an investment in all these things," commented Christine Day, CEO, lululemon athletica. "We are thrilled to be working with Shannon, Chip, the Province and KPU on this project and are excited about the impact this school will have on creative talent and future innovation in B.C."
The Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design will enable KPU to increase the overall number of design students by 57 per cent. As well as housing the current design programs, the school will be able to offer additional programming to attract new students to the Richmond campus.
"KPU has a well-earned reputation for design excellence, and this new facility will enable us to build on that success and ensure British Columbians have the skills to succeed in this growing industry," said Dr. Alan Davis, KPU president and vice-chancellor. "We are enormously grateful to Shannon, Chip, lululemon and the Province for this investment. This gift will be transformative for KPU and for B.C.'s design industries."
The project is scheduled to break ground in the fall of 2013 and is estimated to generate 293 jobs during construction. It will be ready for a student intake in September 2015.
- The new facility will provide an additional 4,900 square metres of space, increasing the academic space at KPU Richmond by 124 per cent.
- The new school will accommodate 651 domestic, international, continuing education, full- and part-time students.
- Facilities will include:
- New teaching studios
- Testing and prototyping labs
- Materials research centre
- A "Usability Lab", where students can design, prototype, test and market product concepts to consumers
- Gallery space for exhibitions of student work and curated shows related to innovation
- Student study space
- The School will house a unique in Canada Post baccalaureate diploma in technical apparel to provide training for future leaders and entrepreneurs in the performance and technical apparel and product sectors.
- Once the new school has opened, KPU will repurpose the current design facilities to create new program areas in the Faculty of Business and to meet growing international student demand.
- KPU, has four campuses located in Surrey, Richmond, Cloverdale and Langley, which are attended annually by more than 18,000 students.
B.C. Jobs Plan and Skills Training Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/skills-and-training-plan/
Kwantlen Polytechnic University: http://www.kwantlen.ca/home.html
Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design: http://design.kwantlen.ca
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