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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
February 26, 2017
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Construction under way at the site of the Global Innovation Exchange

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Aug 8/13

The crane has gone up at the site of the future Global Innovation Exchange (GIE) on University Avenue at Laurier’s Waterloo campus, and the building is starting to take shape.

The construction contract was awarded to Bondfield Construction, which erected a crane at the site in mid-July. Crews are now excavating and beginning to pour concrete foundations for the building, starting with the 300-seat circular lecture hall. The process of building concrete foundations for the entire site will take a few months.

“We’re very pleased that the tender was within budget and that construction is getting under way,” said Mark Dettweiler, director of Planning, Design and Construction at Laurier. “We expect to see things pick up in the next few weeks.”

With the construction project now under way, parking spots are being relocated to Laurier’s Northdale campus. Approximately 198 spots will be built on this site for staff, faculty and students. Construction on the parking lot should be completed in the next few weeks. An additional 39 spots for gold parking have been created at 230 Regina St. and are available now for staff and faculty.

The GIE is the future home of Laurier’s School of Business & Economics and Department of Mathematics. The 215,000-square-foot building is designed to present a bold, forward-looking presence on University Avenue. The facility design boasts four storeys, a 1,000-seat auditorium, a four-storey atrium, lecture halls, and a finance research lab with real-time trading facilities and Bloomberg terminals.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site May 17. Among those who helped break ground were John Milloy, minister of Government Services; Max Blouw, Laurier president and vice-chancellor; Micheál Kelly, dean of Laurier’s School of Business and Economics; and Paul Jessop, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Science.

“This project is an exciting step forward in Wilfrid Laurier University’s service and contributions in the City of Waterloo,” Blouw said at the groundbreaking event. “It will connect Laurier and our region increasingly to the global community, and it will be a tangible expression of the commitment of Laurier faculty, staff and students to global outreach, innovation and excellence.”

The $103-million project received a $72.6-million investment from the Ontario government in 2011 – the largest single capital investment in Laurier’s history.

"Ontario is putting students first by creating more opportunities at our colleges and universities so we can build the skilled and knowledgeable workforce needed for the global economy," Milloy said at the groundbreaking. "Our government’s investment in the new Global Innovation Exchange will help Wilfrid Laurier’s mathematics, business and economics students succeed in the future, while creating good jobs today.”

The GIE was designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects and David Thompson Architect. It is scheduled to open for classes in Fall 2015.

For more information about the GIE, including artist’s renderings and floor plans, please visit

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