Fanshawe College sees future of Innovation Village

Header image for the article Fanshawe College sees future of Innovation Village Credit: EMILY STEWART
David Belford, the executive director of Innovation Village.

On Feb. 5, Fanshawe College students and staff got a chance to take a peak at how Innovation Village will look.

Members of the College community went to F Hallway to look at Innovation Village floor plans and architectural renderings and ask questions about the project.

David Belford, the executive director of Innovation Village, said the floor plans reflect two years of planning and consultation with several college employees across several departments, students, and the Fanshawe Student Union (FSU). The new space will include a makerspace, virtual reality (VR) labs, and media production labs for students to work on everything from podcasts to photography to videos. More student workspaces will also be available.

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“Certainly, what we’re putting in here reflects a lot of the feedback and ideas we’ve had from students,” Belford said.

FSU president Keren Nanneti said that students are excited about Innovation Village. The students are looking forward to the changes in Forwell Hall and are especially excited about the library’s renovation.

“It’s going to give them lots of open space,” Nanneti said. “Lots of open opportunities for them to utilize the resources of the library.”

She added that although students are excited, they are concerned about accessing some resources like the library and moving from building to building during construction. The FSU will inform students, through social media, flyers, and events, of any Innovation Village updates like where certain services will be moved to during construction.

“We are making efforts to make sure the students can access all the services, though everything’s under construction,” said Nanneti. “We’ll be making pathways around the construction zone so students can stay safe and also moving certain services to different locations.”

Phase One of construction began in January 2020. Innovation Village construction, in its three phases, is expected to end in 2023. Fanshawe’s Corporate Communications team sent out an email announcing the open house and Innovation Village construction updates.

A new homework lab in A2024 opened on Feb. 3. Students can also use the B1049 and L2005 homework labs. The second floor study lounges in A Building, T Building, and D mezzanine have been upgraded and renamed Student Study and Informal Learning Spaces.

Belford said to watch for emails with construction updates. If students have questions about how the signature innovative learning experiences (SILEx) and job skills for the future mandates will affect them during their studies and after they leave, they should talk to their professors.

“Some of the students here won’t see this because they’ll be gone before this construction is done,” he said. “But right now, they could be heavily involved in those two things, experiential learning we’re trying to create for them and preparing for jobs in the future.”

The College also scheduled an Innovation Village open house on Feb. 7 for the Downtown Campus in the 130 Dundas St. amphitheatre. Visit fanshawec.ca/innovation for more information.