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Positive feedback and progress

Credit: SHAWN HARRINGTON

Progress of the second downtown building in going as planned, on schedule and within the $66.2 million budget. The completion will be a positive result for more students, along with their related industries nearby.


Melissa Novacaska | Interrobang | News | December 5th, 2016




Downtown campus construction a good thing for students and industries

Students and faculty at Fanshawe’s downtown London campus will soon be benefitting more from the construction of the second building on site.

Formerly the Kingsmill building, the downtown campus phase II project has been moving right along schedule and within the $66.2 million budget, according to Shawn

Harrington, senior manager of campus planning and capital development. Harrington is also acting as the executive director of facilities management and community safety.

“The project is progressing well, they’ve got three stories of the steel structure up on the south end of the building so that’s great progress to see happening,” Harrington said. “They’re getting ready to start putting the floor materials on the structure, so that’s the activity that will be going on for the next while is getting the steel structure up and they’ll soon start working on underground services below the basement.”

According to Harrington, besides having some challenges with the soil conditions at one point during the early stages of construction, there have been few hiccups along the way.

The completion of the facility, which will house tourism and hospitality, culinary and information technology programs, is still set for September 2018.

According to Fanshawe’s website, which was last updated November 2016 with the progress of the building, other features that have been in progress include installing underground tanks, a sanitary sump pit, and an elevator sump pit shortly.

The website said by the end of December 2016, most of the structural steel will be placed around four stories of the building, as well as a steel deck supported by steel beams to support concrete or roofing materials to create the floor or roof system, then workers will prep the steel deck to pour concrete to create the floor slabs. Masonry work will start in the new year.

This comes after foundation walls were deepened and caissons (large underground concrete columns) were also installed.

With all this major change, there is good to come out of it.

According to Harrington, the goal of creating the second building was to complete Fanshawe’s goal of having 2,000 students on the downtown campus.

“[Fanshawe] had discussions with the city of London looking at how we might contribute to the revitalization of the downtown, so putting 2,000 students in the downtown core generates other businesses or spinoff activity with students down there all the time and shopping,” Harrington said.

Harrington said the programs that are currently downtown, such as digital media, is beneficial for students since many companies catering to the program are directly downtown.

Harrington sees this project as being both good for students and the industries downtown.

Helen Pearce, Dean of Faculty of Arts, Media and Design, agreed with Harrington’s remark on both students and the industries connecting downtown.

“To me, the importance of being downtown is the community connections and the industry connections,” Pearce said.

Pearce said the fact that both digital media and programs dedicated to theatre are already on the downtown campus, she finds downtown is a great place for a number of possible connections students can make, and the fact that digital companies are “growing phenomenally” downtown allows for students in the program to get in touch with industry leaders that much more efficiently.

Though the new programs coming to the second campus building does not fall under her faculty, Pearce said having the “influx” of those students would improve the downtown core even more.

“I think it’s a bonus for downtown, [as it] helps both students and those around. [There’s] lots of very cool projects and research opportunities.”

Rob Carver, Chair of Contemporary Media, focused a lot on how having interactive digital media, for example, has been good for both the students and industry nearby.

According to Carver, he has seen students in the program get hired right away from industries and credits the fact of being downtown as one of the reasons for that.

“I think being downtown is for us, for our students, a fantastic thing because they are so close to industry, it’s also helping to build the London community downtown and sort of bring vibrancy to the community and of course it’s very much all a part of London as a city of London building it’s economic strength in the downtown core, so all of those things are great,” Carver said.

Carver said that having other programs like tourism and hospitality and information technology come downtown will also be beneficial since the downtown core is the place to be for both those industries.

“I also think that the mix of programs that are going down there make a lot of sense… those are the programs where we have a real opportunity to connect and partner with local industry.”

Rob Haaf, co-cordinator of the interactive media programs in the School of Contemporary Media has seen first hand what having a program downtown can do for students.

“It’s been a tremendously positive experience to be downtown,” Haaf said.

According to Haaf, being downtown makes it easier to connect the students with industry leaders, since they can easily walk to and from the company since they’re in close proximity to downtown. Beforehand, it wasn’t as possible when the faculty was completely on the main campus location.

“We feel much more involved here and our students get hired faster, they’re less, scared. It can be intimidating to contact industry people and so on but just having the proximity to them really makes a of things better,” Haaf said. “A lot of stuff that we have is right down here. It just so happens that most of the digital media agencies are in downtown London as opposed to somewhere out in the outskirts. So it works for us really well.”
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