SAINT JOHN (GNB) – Federal, provincial and university officials today announced $38 million in funding for construction of the Health and Social Innovation Centre at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB) Saint John campus.

“We are investing in state-of-the-art infrastructure that will support the growth of the health sciences and technology sector in the province,” said Premier Blaine Higgs. “This centre will be home to a new four-year interdisciplinary undergraduate program in health, as well as a research facility for scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs. This is an important development in the transformation of New Brunswick’s health-care sector.”

The project involves the demolition of the vacant Ward Chipman Library and the construction of a new 5,850 sq. metre (65,000 sq. feet), three and a half-story building that will become the new Health and Social Innovation Centre.

The new building, overlooking the campus quad and the Kennebecasis River, will be connected to nearby walking paths, an underground tunnel system and a ring road. The centre will be the foundation for the proposed Health and Technology District in Saint John.

“Canadians have long been pioneers in the field of health-care research,” said federal Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “There is a tradition of excellence and innovation that lives here – and through this partnership with the Government of New Brunswick and UNB Saint John, we are building on that legacy. All New Brunswickers and all Canadians will benefit from the work that will take place in this new facility.”

The provincial government is investing $12 million toward the project and the federal government is investing $15.2 million. The university is providing $10.8 million.

“The Health and Social Innovation Centre is the hub for UNB’s Integrated Health Initiative, an ambitious program designed to transform health care through education, research, partnerships, innovation and knowledge transfer,” said university president and vice-chancellor Paul J. Mazerolle. “The federal and provincial governments’ support demonstrates that they share our vision of a Saint John-based centre of excellence with impact for our province, Atlantic Canada, as well as all of Canada.”

The centre will offer numerous community programs. In addition, the building will feature prominent green space highlighted by a healing garden to support healing, truth and reconciliation between Indigenous and settler communities. It will be designed and built to maintain a low carbon footprint through green building standards and aim for a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification.