The Wilson School of Design will add 140 full-time seats for a total of 681 spaces for students.
New facilities will include innovative teaching studios and labs, a testing centre, gallery space, and expanded study and design spaces.
It will also house advanced technology, such as laser cutters, 3D printers, and ultrasonic welders, said BC’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, Melanie Mark.
“Design careers are vital for a 21st-century diversified economy,” said Mark. “Cultivating design talent here in British Columbia will support the apparel sector, which is poised for strong growth.”
The programs in the new building, she added “will create exciting choices for students, as well as support for local design industries.”
The $36-million building will provide a space for a range of existing design programs at KPU, such as the bachelor of design in fashion and technology, bachelor of interior design, and continuing and professional education.
It will also house KPU’s product design and technical apparel design programs, which educate students in the development of performance, technical, medical, and protective apparel and gear.
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“BC’s environment creates a demand for technical apparel that is unparalleled in the world,” said Wilson. “The province is home to world-class technical apparel companies, and we now have a state-of-the-art facility and training programs to supply the technical demand.”
Wilson’s wife Shannon, echoed her husband’s words.
“Our vision is for BC to continue as a globally recognized leader in athletic performance apparel,” she said. “Chip and I share a passion for nurturing creative talent, and we are thrilled to partner with KPU to help develop the next generation of designers and innovators.”
The $36-million Wilson School of Design building was funded through a $12-million contribution from the BC government, $12 million from KPU and $12 million in donations that include $8 million from the Wilsons.
“The KPU community is very appreciative of the support we have received from the Wilsons and the Province and their recognition of our history of excellence in design education,” said Alan Davis, KPU president and vice-chancellor.
The new school of design, he added, “gives us the opportunity to expand our programming, research and innovation activities, so our students can continue to innovate and drive a burgeoning BC economy.”