The Province is investing $86.4 million in a new state-of-the-art building at the University of British Columbia that will house the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Science, enabling the expansion of the undergraduate program by 72 students, and helping address the shortage of pharmacists in B.C., announced Premier Gordon Campbell today.

“This facility will ensure increased numbers of pharmacists are able to train in B.C. to help meet the health care needs of British Columbians now and for the future,” said Premier Campbell. “This expansion of pharmacist training will build on the steps we’ve taken over the past eight years to expand training of medical professionals here in B.C., including doubling the number of doctor training spaces and nurse training spaces at our province’s universities and colleges.”

The new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building will feature almost two hectares of floor space containing research and teaching laboratories, office space and classrooms, as well as additional space to be leased out to tenants operating in the drug research, development and commercialization field. The total project cost is $133.3 million, and it will create approximately 850 construction jobs.

“The construction of the Pharmaceutical Sciences Building at UBC is part of our commitment to offer students more choices and more access to a post-secondary education in a variety of health professions,” said Moira Stilwell, Minister of Advanced Education and Labour Market Development. “We’re providing these opportunities so students can receive the education they need to succeed in our province, while helping to ensure healthy communities.” 

The new building space will also allow the professional pharmacy degree program to expand 47 per cent in enrolment. An additional 72 students will be able to start the program by 2011 for a total of up to 224 new pharmacists by 2015. The faculty’s masters, doctoral and Pharm.D. graduate programs will also expand during the same period and the building will provide space for 896 undergraduates.

The facility will be built to target Leadership in Environmental and Energy Design gold certification. LEED is the recognized standard in green building design.

“We are grateful for the Province’s foresight in making this remarkable contribution,” said University of British Columbia President, Prof. Stephen J. Toope. “UBC’s new Pharmaceutical Sciences Building will provide a world-class learning environment and a place to make crucial discoveries for health care delivery in B.C.”

The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD) will occupy research laboratories and office space in the building alongside the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences. CDRD’s close proximity will benefit the Pharmaceutical Sciences program by providing an opportunity for students and the next generation of pharmacists to participate in pharmaceutical research as well as learn in an environment of innovation and discovery.

“This important bold investment by the B.C. government helps address the significant pharmacist shortage in B.C. and assures that future generations of pharmacy professionals will be ready to help meet the health care needs of British Columbians well into the future”, said Dr Robert Sindelar, Dean of Pharmaceutical Sciences at The University of British Columbia.

Since 2001, the Province has invested more than $1.8 billion in new funding for more than 840 capital projects on post-secondary campuses around B.C., opened seven new universities, added 35,500 seats, and increased spending to post-secondary institutions by 53 per cent.