There’s been a lot of chatter recently about the future of SFU Surrey. The campus at Central City, which celebrated its 10th anniversary this year, is maxed out, serving over 7,000 students, not including life-long learning programs. Over 67% of undergrads at SFU Surrey come from the South of Fraser, meaning the campus is meeting its original goal of serving the post-secondary needs of this section of the region. However, capacity isn’t keeping up with demand – the South Fraser only has 126 post-secondary seats for every thousand 18-to-29 year old, compared to the provincial average of 244 seats.
In 2006, SFU and the Province signed a Memorandum of Understanding that committed to doubling the capacity of SFU Surrey from 2,500 full-time equivalent seats to 5,000 by 2015. With the proposed expansion, SFU Surrey would become a complete, comprehensive campus. The recently completed Podium 2 expansion, funded in part by stimulus dollars, only added 137 full time equivalent seats.
At this point, SFU Surrey is waiting for the province to commit the capital investment required for campus expansion. SFU has a four-phase expansion plan, with the first phase the most detailed.
Phase One consists of a new building to house the Energy Systems Engineering Program. It will be the first accredited undergraduate energy engineering program in Canada. SFU will partner with the City and the City’s Development Corporation to include a Cleantech Commercialization Centre in the facility, which will focus on business mentorship and connecting university research to the broader community. The building will feature a large, 400 seat lecture theatre. Phase One will serve the needs of 300 undergrads and 85 grad students. It is expected to cost $70 million and could open its doors in early 2016 if funding is included in the 2013 provincial budget.
The other phases each meet the expansion needs of several departments. Phase Two accommodates the Science, Health and Technology departments, at a cost of $95 million. Phase Three accommodates an expansion of the Business department, at a cost of $95 million. Phase Four focuses on expansion of graduate research facilities, again estimated at $95 million.
If these phases all moved forward under SFU’s ambitious timeline, campus expansion would meet the 5,000 FTE capacity goal four years late in 2019.
Where would the buildings go? SFU owns two parking lots adjacent to the existing tower, at the northwest and southwest corners of 102 Ave and University Drive. It also retains an option to develop the North Surrey Recreation Centre parking lot. In any case, expect SFU to partner with the City on some land deals or swaps if the provincial funding is approved.