Innovative expansion of Thompson Rivers University will house Canada's first new Faculty of Law in 30 Years

Transformation of Old Main building unveiled

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KAMLOOPS, BC, May 17 /CNW/ - Today, at Kamloops Art Gallery, Thompson Rivers University unveiled the plans for an exciting new revitalization of Old Main which will include 40,000 square feet of new learning space and will house Canada's newest Faculty of Law. The design was unveiled in front of its inspiration Mount Paul by Group of Seven painter, A. Y. Jackson. This revitalization will make Old Main one of the most innovative buildings in the BC Interior.

This new space is an important expression of Thompson Rivers University's vision for the future, and is part of a campus-wide program of expansion and bold, new buildings. Currently offering undergraduate and graduate studies, the expanded facilities are required for the new Faculty of Law. The design and construction techniques are a bold step in the creation of the newest Faculty of Law in the country.

The Faculty of Law at Thompson Rivers University, which will be housed in the new floor, is the first new Faculty of Law in Canada in 30 years. "The founding of a new law school, especially the first law school outside of a major urban centre, is important not only for the BC Interior, and the province, but for Canadians across the country," said Founding Dean, Chris Axworthy, Q.C.

The firms of Diamond and Schmitt Architects and Stantec won the design bid for their vision to revitalize the Old Main building.   The new space will contain space for the Faculty of Law, and will contain common space for use by all TRU students.

The design firms looked to the splendor of Mt. Peter and Paul to create an expansive design that undulates and curves, and were inspired by Mount Paul, by A. Y. Jackson. The result is a spectacular undulating roofline that mirrors the Kamloops horizon.

"I think the concept that has been developed is certainly imaginative and is in harmony with the location," said TRU President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Alan Shaver. "It will serve as a striking home for Canada's newest law school."

The building was designed to meet TRU's exacting standards.

"Our design for the new Law School is shaped by the topography of Mount Peter and Mount Paul, sacred ground for First Nations seen from the site.  The design is grounded in the sustainable re-use of pine beetle kill wood harvested locally," said Donald Schmitt, a principal with Diamond and Schmitt Architects. "State of the art prefabricated wall and roof elements, made on site enclose tall flowing and inspirational indoor space."

In order to minimize impact to the campus and student body, construction of many of the components will take place offsite during the winter of 2011-2012. Onsite construction will commence April 2012 with the completion of the shell targeted for June 2012. The firms will submit completed, detailed working drawings for the third and fourth floor by August 31.

The total estimated cost for the revitalization is $20 million. The construction of the shell, Phase 1, is funded for approximately $10 million. Phase 2, the completion of the interior will cost approximately $10 million and will be paid for through public-private fundraising. Tender packages for Phase 1 construction will go out by November.

Removal and replacement of the exterior windows in blocks A and B of Old Main will begin June 15 of this year. Seismic upgrades will occur this summer and to minimize disruption, most of the work will be done during the afternoons, evenings and weekends.

Cliff Neufeld, TRU Vice President Administration and Finance, said the revitalization is long overdue.

"We think this will be a remarkable transformation for the building and you will not recognize it as the same building it is now," Neufeld said.

Artists' renderings are available at:

Thompson Rivers University

Located in Kamloops, British Columbia, Thompson Rivers University (TRU) is BC's newest university. Students from across the country and around the world come to study with leading professors in one of Canada's most beautiful university settings.

TRU is an innovative comprehensive university. Originally founded as Cariboo College in 1970, the university became a degree-granting institution in 1995, and was named Thompson Rivers University in 2005.  TRU has evolved into a leading institution that combines the rigor of top-tier academic programs and with the value of applied studies.

TRU has a vibrant community with over 13,000 students on campus and an additional 8,000 studying by distance through online learning tools. Students from over 30 countries can complete undergraduate and graduate degrees in addition to diplomas, trades training, certificates, continuing studies and ESL.

TRU is proud to serve Canada's aboriginal community through unique learning programs that enable members of our First Nations community to remain close to their communities. TRU is home to a host of specialized Aboriginal educational programs and learning centres.

The Faculty of Law at TRU is the newest law school in Canada. It stands as yet another example of TRU's commitment to bring high quality, assessable, and innovative educational options to Canadians and to the BC Interior.

The President of TRU is Dr. Alan Shaver. The Chancellor is Wally Oppal, Q.C.

Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law

Thompson Rivers University (TRU) Faculty of Law is the newest law school in Canada. Canadian law schools have an excellent track record and global reputation for the lawyers our system produces. TRU Law will fit into that mosaic of law schools. Our faculty of law will fill a unique role: a smaller-scale law school where students can interact with faculty, develop a strong understanding of legal ethics, learn about the increasingly important field of First Nations and Energy law, and graduate knowing that their legal education has prepared them for the practice of law. These are important and growing areas of practice, and our students will have an important backing in these specialities.

The founding Dean of TRU Law is Chris Axworthy, Q.C., former federal MP and Saskatchewan MLA, and provincial cabinet minister. He has taught law at the University of New Brunswick, Dalhousie Law School (now Schulich School of Law), University of Saskatchewan, and served as Dean of Robson Hall, the Faculty of Law at University of Manitoba.

SOURCE Thompson Rivers University

For further information:

Thompson Rivers University 

Chris Axworthy, Q.C.

Founding Dean, Faculty of Law

Cliff Neufeld

TRU Vice President Administration and Finance

Diamond and Schmitt

Paul French

Manager, Public Relations
416.862.8800 x454 

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