The SIRC is coming to town

Photo by Travis Fortnum

Whitby MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes stands beside UOIT student Josh Harrington. After announcing significant government funding into SIRC, the new building on campus, they took part in a ceremonial 'dirt-flipping'.

“Every now and then I can wear blue,” joked Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Liberal MP for Whitby.

Wearing a UOIT Ridgebacks track jacket, Caesar-Chavannes was on campus Oct. 12 along with Durham MPP Granville Anderson to announce $13 million in federal and provincial government investments into construction of a brand new, state-of-the-art building on campus.

In total $33.5 million has been put up to support the construction of the Software and Informatics Research Centre (SIRC), which will act as a hub for research in health and business analytics, IT security, networking, gaming and software engineering.

“What don’t you guys do here?” said Caesar-Chavannes, referring to the broad offerings at UOIT.

Of the $33.5 million, $11.8 million comes from the government of Canada, $1.2 million from the provincial government, and the remaining $20.5 million from UOIT itself via capital reserves, donor, alumni and supporters in the business community.

“Our goal is to make every Canadian innovation ready,” Caesar-Chavannes said of the importance of a facility like SIRC. “Ready to spot opportunities, to imagine possibilities and to discover new ideas as well as positioning Canada as a global leader in research excellence and innovation.”

Josh Harrington is an undergraduate student at UOIT who will take advantage of the research space at SIRC when available.

He is at the start of his fourth year at the university, and as the university expands and evolves, he has had the chance to travel to conferences in Alaska, as well as Portugal for an internship as a software engineer.

“The university continues to grow and attract some of the brightest minds, both students and faculty,” says Harrington. “Here you’re not a number, you’re not a value, you’re the future. The new Software and Informatics Research Centre will be a spectacular building.”

The federal funding that allows the SIRC to become a reality is being allocated through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. This aims to modernize and enhance research facilities on campuses across Canada while also improving their environmental sustainability.

“I’ve witnessed first-hand the great work that everyone here at UOIT does,” says Caesar-Chavannes, “from faculty to staff to administrators. Durham is very fortunate to have a world-class institution like this right here in our own backyard.”

In two weeks the building should begin to take shape beside the Campus Fieldhouse (formerly the tennis centre). The first two floors are expected to open fall 2017, with the remaining two acting as “shelled space” for future expansion.

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Travis Fortnum is a second-year journalism student. He has a love for politics and is passionate about covering campus news, community events, and sports. Aside from the Chronicle, his stories have been featured in the Oshawa This Week, Brooklin Town Crier, Whitby Snap'd and on