FREDERICTON (GNB) - An official ribbon cutting for the new Kinesiology Building at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) campus in Fredericton took place today.

This $36 million, 5,400 square metre (60,000 sq. ft.) building will house a research cluster focused on health, wellness and physical fitness that is intended to establish New Brunswick as a leader in preventive health care.

The project was made possible thanks to a $24.87 million investment from the federal and provincial governments.

“Your government understands that in order to improve the quality of life for New Brunswick families, one of the best investments we can make is in education and training,” said deputy premier Stephen Horsman. “These types of investments are helping our students succeed and thrive here in New Brunswick.”

Horsman spoke on behalf of Post-Secondary Education Minister Roger Melanson.

“In addition to the many initiatives and programs at UNB focused on preventive health care, this expansion has further positioned us to be a wellness leader in our region,” said Eddy Campbell, president and vice-chancellor. “This renewed space has become the new home for our growing faculty of kinesiology, which is one of the best in the country.”

The growing cost of treating chronic illnesses is driving the demand for more applied research in preventive and rehabilitative care.

“New Brunswick is the ideal place to rollout bold and transformative approaches that will support healthy living,” said Fredericton MP Matt DeCourcey. “Through the opening of UNB’s brand new Kinesiology Building, our city and province will continue to be leaders in innovative health research that will provide a greater sense of well-being for all Canadians.”

DeCourcey attended for federal Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains, who is also the minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The new building has a number of unique features. Trees from the project site were harvested and their wood used for a seating area, teaching podium, reception desk and locker room benches. Chairs from the seating area of “The Pit” in the Lady Beaverbrook Gym have been refurbished and given a place of prominence. There is a living wall, a vegetative roof, and recycled rain water is used throughout the building.

A 50-year time capsule was placed in the building’s cornerstone, containing dozens of items such as a handcrafted pencil from a former kinesiology dean, a Fitbit, the UCard of UNB’s 2017 Student Union president, and a 3D printed whistle created by an engineering student.