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Thursday, June 2, 2005

  • City sees design for pharmacy school
  • Developing links with Pittsburgh
  • Where we stand (and how we ride)
Chris Redmond

Coronation Day, 1953

[Stone and brass doorway]

Already downtown: The Residential Energy Efficiency Project, which had its beginnings in UW's faculty of environmental studies, has moved to new quarters in the old Public Utilities Building, a landmark on King Street in downtown Kitchener across from city hall. It joins the Community-University Research Alliance, also affiliated with ES, in office space behind the K-W Tourism Store in the historic building. REEP and CURA were both formerly housed in the former T-D Bank building at the corner of Frederick and King Streets. The official address at the new offices is 191 King Street West, says REEP manager Mary Jane Patterson. Founded in 1999, REEP has performed more than 6,000 EnerGuide for Houses home energy evaluations in the Region of Waterloo, and employed 60 co-op students as energy or customer service interns.

City sees design for pharmacy school

UW's new downtown Kitchener "health sciences complex" and pharmacy school "is one step closer to construction", says a City of Kitchener news release, after city council reviewed a preliminary design concept for the school and approved "a set of founding principles for the design" of the new campus.

Says the release: "While the specific design, layout and physical makeup will undoubtedly change as the University of Waterloo further develops a more detailed working plan for the School, the general themes and components established for the campus will remain largely unchanged.

"The preliminary design concept builds on the vision of the School of Pharmacy's Hallman Director, Dr. Jake Thiessen, to create an 'integrated world of care'. In addition to building a modern university facility that will provide a world-class educational experience for its students and faculty, the design concept of the School of Pharmacy also features a number of important health care components such as a functioning commercial pharmacy and a large integrated family medicine centre which will serve local residents for their own medical needs.

"Designed mostly of glass to provide a bight and friendly environment, and dominating a significant portion of the school, the family medicine centre will bring together a variety of medical professionals -- from pharmacists and family doctors to social workers and psychiatrists -- under one roof to provide local residents with a completely integrated level of health care.

"The specific design and layout of the family medicine centre will encourage those health professionals to meet on individual cases, discuss options and formulate integrated responses to their patients needs. For students, it will also offer a unique opportunity for interdisciplinary learning and research."

It quotes Thiessen: "When our doors open in September 2007, the University of Waterloo's Downtown Kitchener School of Pharmacy will be a world class facility -- there will be no other place like it in North America. It will be unique in its educational experience and its approach to creating integrated health care."

[Laura Talbot-Allan]

VP's title: Laura Talbot-Allan, who has been UW's vice-president (university relations) since 2001, has the new title of vice-president (external relations) as of June 1. She said the new label "more effectively reflects the broad relationships we maintain", involving government, business, the community, alumni, and donors to UW. The VP is responsible for the office of development and alumni affairs and the office of communications and public affairs.

The release says the "very preliminary design concept" outlines a campus built around a large, natural, courtyard that would "welcome students to the city" and encourage the community to use its public spaces and facilities as a place to gather in the downtown core.

"To complement and offset the historic Kaufman Footwear building which is located directly across the street from the site and is currently being converted into condominiums, a large tower containing offices and meeting rooms will be built at the corner of King Street and Victoria Street.

"A lounge and café would be located on the main floor of the tower and will be accessible from the street through the large, main entrance. The first floor of the entire building will be built of glass to help create a more open, transparent structure. In addition, the preliminary concept sets aside a signification portion of the campus for a large, multi-level public arboretum (Medicine Garden) and fireplace."

Kitchener mayor Carl Zehr calls the planned building "a stunning gateway" to downtown Kitchener.

More information about the building will be coming to UW's board of governors next week, and to city council on June 27. The detailed design concept will be used by the project's architects to develop working drawings of the building by January 2006. Construction is set to begin early next year.

Developing links with Pittsburgh

UW's provost and the chair of the electrical and computer engineering department, are part of a delegation from Waterloo Region that's visiting Pittsburgh today to talk about "partnerships" and economic development. Pittsburgh (pictured) is a metropolitan area of 2.5 million people almost due south of Kitchener-Waterloo, about a 500-kilometre drive away.

The one-day "Pittsburgh-Waterloo Partnership Day" is organized by Canada's Technology Triangle and led by Mike Lazaridis, president of Research In Motion and UW's chancellor. He will give the keynote address to the Allegheny Conference's Annual Regional Investors Council Summit, a community visioning session involving Pittsburgh's business leaders. Lazaridis will also speak at a luncheon hosted by the Pittsburgh Tech Council.

[Skyline] CTT says the invitation originated with Pittsburgh's Allegheny Conference on Community Development and its partners, including the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The Canadian Consulate General in Buffalo, responsible for Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania, has encouraged the partnership, CTT says. Canada's recently appointed honorary consul in Pittsburgh, Roger Cranville, who is with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance, spearheaded the initiative, working with CTT and Communitech Technology Association, another group representing business in the Kitchener-Waterloo area.

"Pittsburgh's business leadership wants to hear first-hand how companies like Research In Motion have risen to global prominence from roots in the Waterloo Region," says Iain Klugman, president of Communitech. "More and more, we find other regions want to learn about the factors in Waterloo Region that favour innovation, entrepreneurship and success."

CTT chief executive John Tennant adds: "Pittsburgh's initiative opens valuable doors for us to raise the profile of Canada's Technology Triangle, its businesses and its outstanding post-secondary institutions. There are important parallels between the two regional economies, beginning with the fact that each has deep roots in manufacturing. Today, both the Waterloo Region and Pittsburgh are focused on positioning themselves to be among the leaders in manufacturing systems and robotics, IT, imaging, cyber-security, biotechnology and health sciences and nanotechnology. Well reputed post-secondary institutions play central roles in both cases. It makes sense to learn from each other's experiences and explore the potential for partnerships."

Sessions at Carnegie Mellon University will also be a feature of the program. Carnegie Mellon is described as "the only top 25 university in the USA founded in the 20th century", and boasts achievements in computer science, robotics, engineering, the sciences, business, public policy, fine arts and the humanities.

Participants in today's trip come from such firms as Christie Digital Systems, FibreTech Telecommunications, and Future Focus Inc. Coming from UW are provost Amit Chakma and E&CE chair Catherine Rosenberg.

Where we stand (and how we ride)

"The University of Waterloo is participating once again as a local organization in the Commuter Challenge," writes Patti Cook, UW's waste management coordinator. The event is set for next week. "The purpose of the Commuter Challenge is to increase the number of healthy commuters and reduce the number of single occupant vehicles on the road, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. If you have ever wanted to walk, bike or bus to work, this is a great opportunity to give it a try. It may even be quicker than driving!" (That could especially be true next week, with the closing of the eastbound lanes on University Avenue near the UW main entrance. We're awaiting word on how Grand River Transit will re-route the number 7, 8, 12 and 13 buses during the coming construction.)

Something like 100 people -- a capacity-plus crowd -- showed up for yesterday morning's annual meeting of the UW staff association, and one observer said the group seemed to be tilted toward the older generation of staff members. Those who attended met the new executive of the association, including 2005-06 president Stephen Markan and president-elect Joe Szalai, and took part in general discussion of staff problems and the issues that face the association. A campus-wide staff survey is on the way, the association has announced: a draft already includes approximately 150 questions about "job satisfaction, employee morale, perceptions of management and administration, compensation issues and the benefit program".

Technical speaker competition sponsored by Sandford Fleming Foundation for engineering students, faculty finals 10:30, Doug Wright Engineering room 2534 (note change of room).

John Brady, author of the Matt Minogue series, signing his books in the UW bookstore, 11:30 to 12 noon.

Employee safety orientation session 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1304, information ext. 5613.

Career development workshop: "Job Search Strategies", 2:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Computational mathematics student pizza welcome event, 4 p.m., Davis Centre room 3150.

Mathematics Society movie night: "Shark Tale" 7:00, "Robots" 9:00, location not announced.

Don Samuel Ruiz, bishop emeritus of Chiapas, Mexico, peace mediator and human rights activist, speaks at St. Jerome's University, Friday 1:30, Siegfried Hall.

UW Day welcome for future students and their families, Saturday 12:30 to 4:00, Student Life Centre.

May was a cold month, even with a few warmer days near the end, says Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station, summing up the month that just ended. Some days were almost 10 degrees below the average, he says. "The high temperatures for the month were about 2.5 degrees less than average. However, it was not the coldest May we have had the station -- 2002 was even colder. . . . One of the few good things about the colder than average temperatures was that the tulips and other spring bulbs lasted a lot longer than usual. Assuming that it doesn't get below freezing again until the fall, the date of the last frost was May 6, although it got close on both the 12th and 18th. Even the rain at the end of the month couldn't put the total precipitation into the average range: we ended up with only 22.5 mm of precipitation, 30% of the average." Maximum temperature all month was 23.7 Celsius; minimum, minus-0.9.

Wilfrid Laurier University begins its spring convocations today with a session at 1:15 in the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex. Receiving an honorary degree today is Terry Copp, noted military historian who recently retired from WLU. Tomorrow, convocation runs in two sessions -- at 10:00 (honorary degree to motivational speaker and paraplegic pilot Carl Hiebert) and 2:00 (pianist Anton Kuerti). WLU, which has a burgeoning campus in Brantford, also hold a convocation session June 8 at the Sanderson Centre for the Performing Arts in that community (honorary degree for author and mental health counsellor Deborah Ellis).

People who attended the annual Ontario Universities Computing Conference last week are reporting on it this morning at the information systems and technology professional development seminar. . . . Tickets are on sale at Mudie's cafeteria in Village I for a barbecue to be held on the great hall patio next Wednesday at the dinner hour. . . . Mark Morton, the new instructional program manager for the Centre for Learning and Teaching Through Technology, is profiled this month on the LT3 web site. . . .


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