The mood was much, much warmer than the weather as politicians from three
levels of government congratulated Concordia on its future Integrated
Engineering, Computer Science and Visual Arts Complex. They were taking
part in a groundbreaking ceremony, held mid-morning on May 13 in a tent
erected on the site, a now-empty lot on Ste. Catherine St. between Guy
and Mackay Sts.
As he has on many occasions now, Rector Frederick Lowy emphasized the
importance of the new building, part of a $300-million construction project
that will consolidate Concordias activities in 10 buildings, as
opposed to the current 70, including much-needed recreation space.
It also gives tangible proof of a massive academic renewal that includes
several hundred new faculty members, a push for more research activity,
and increased enrolment.
For Mayor Gérald Tremblay, the new building is a welcome newcomer
to the city core. He hailed the construction, which will likely begin
this summer, as a source of new jobs and a source of cultural dynamism.
Our biggest competitive advantage is human capital, Tremblay
said, and Concordias contribution to a multilingual, technologically
adept work force will help make Montreal an outstanding city of North
André Boisclair, the Quebec minister responsible for Montreal,
reminded his audience that the Quebec government has contributed nearly
$100 million (more precisely, $97 million) to the construction project,
an expression of confidence in the university.
Like the mayor, Boisclair saw it as an element of Montreals drive
for economic and social success, and a synthesis of technology and culture.
We mean business about building a modern city where everyone feels
comfortable to live and create, he said. We mean business
about opening a window on the world.
Lucienne Robillard, head of the federal Treasury Board and MP for Westmount-Ville
Marie, was warm in her congratulations, as was David Strangway, president
of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. The CFI was one of the earliest
donors to the integrated complex and both speakers said that it embodies
the goal of the Foundation to promote science and scholarship across Canada.
After the speeches, all the dignitaries set to with shovels for the photographer.