$34 million in BC government funding for SFU Surrey medical school's temporary space

Jul 9 2024, 9:07 pm

To enable Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) brand-new medical school to train more doctors sooner than later, the Government of British Columbia is providing about $34 million in funding to establish a temporary space for the faculty’s unique learning space needs.

As previously announced, BC’s second medical school will be located at the SFU Surrey campus.

The provincial government announced today that the temporary space for the faculty will be within existing SFU Surrey building spaces next to SkyTrain Surrey Central Station, as well as leased space nearby. The new capital funding will support the design, renovation, and equipment costs for classrooms, laboratories, and faculty and staff office space.

This is in addition to $27 million in operational funding provided through the 2024 provincial budget, and $14 million in previous startup and planning funding.

“We’re training a new generation of doctors with a focus on family medicine to provide the services we need in our communities,” said Premier David Eby in a statement today.

“This investment in the first entirely new medical school in Western Canada in 55 years will mean more family doctors graduating each year to provide care for people.”

Currently, BC’s only medical school for training doctors is at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) Point Grey campus in Vancouver.

Surrey Central City office

Central City in Surrey City Centre, where SFU Surrey’s primary facilities are located. (EB Adventure Photography/Shutterstock)

SFU’s senate and board of governors formally approved the faculty of medicine in May 2024, and are now pursuing preliminary national accreditation by Fall 2025 to enable the first class to start in Summer 2026.

The proposed curriculum will follow a three-year “competency-based model” with a minimum of 130 weeks of instruction.

In July 2024, SFU’s board approved the appointment of Dr. David J. Price as the founding dean of the medical school. He is an alumnus of the UBC faculty of medicine, practiced comprehensive family medicine in Vancouver for over a decade, and has held faculty and leadership roles in the medicine faculty at McMaster University since 2000.

“I’m thrilled to celebrate this milestone for the School of Medicine and look forward to all it will accomplish for SFU, Surrey and our province,” said Joy Johnson, president and vice-chancellor of SFU.

“We are working hard to build a school of medicine that will educate the next generation of physicians and make a difference for British Columbians in communities across the province.”

In February 2024, Daily Hive Urbanized reported on the potential location of SFU Surrey’s future permanent purpose-built space for the new medical school within the future Centre Block office development complex immediately west of Surrey Central Station on the site of the closed North Surrey Recreation Centre. This office development is owned and spearheaded by the City of Surrey’s Surrey City Development Corporation (SCDC).

SCDC’s application notes the new SFU medical school could occupy the first eight levels of the 19-storey West Tower — about 254,000 sq ft of the 454,000 sq ft of the building’s total floor area.

centre block sfu surrey 10261-10275 city parkway 2024

2024 revised concept for Surrey’s Centre Block’s north parcels redevelopment, including SFU medical school institutional uses (green), office uses (turquoise), and orange (retail/restaurant). (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/SCDC)

centre block sfu surrey 10261-10275 city parkway 2024

2024 revised concept for the Centre Block’s north parcels redevelopment. (Hariri Pontarini Architects/Adamson Architects/SCDC)

No funding has been committed for this future permanent space, but the further growth of SFU Surrey will strengthen the core of the emerging Surrey City Centre area.

In October 2023, during a Surrey City Council public meeting, Johnson stated the target is to have the medical school’s new permanent purpose-built space completed by 2028/2029, after the school opens in a temporary space in 2026.

“I am so pleased to see the new medical school at SFU’s Surrey campus moving forward in Surrey’s downtown core,” said Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke.

“Not only will it help address the shortage of medical professionals, but it will also bring economic benefits and enhance the quality of life for our residents. Surrey is committed to supporting this initiative and working with SFU and our provincial partners to make it a resounding success.”

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