Vancouver Island University’s trades building at its Nanaimo campus will now be called the Windsor Plywood Trades Discovery Centre after a hefty donation from the company’s foundation.
The Windsor Plywood Foundation gift helped complete construction of the centre and outfit it with the equipment and technology needed to support its programs.
Windsor Plywood did not disclose the size of the gift, though it noted the donation is geared to improving the education of young trades students.
“The Windsor Plywood Foundation is eager to give back to the communities we live and do business in,” said Cathy Brown of the foundation. “The culture of giving runs deep at Windsor Plywood. We believe it is important to support our communities where we can, with the transformative role education plays in the lives of so many VIU students.”
The Trades Discovery Centre opened in 2018 and includes a carpentry shop, classrooms, a student commons, instructor offices and a lab area for industry, students and faculty to collaborate on research projects. The new building also significantly increases the footprint of two high-demand trades programs — carpentry and motorcycle and marine technicians.
“We’re really seeing students taking advantage of every aspect of the new building, from working on extra projects in the shops to forming study groups in the new student commons area,” said Cameron Frenette, chair of VIU’s carpentry program.
“The new shop provides a nicer working environment, and having classrooms in the same building ensures a seamless transition between classroom learning and hands-on learning.”
The foundation has a long history of giving to VIU. It supports student awards, Milner Gardens, the nursing simulation suites, social justice programs and others.