Innovation Village hosts grand opening in the newly renovated Forwell Hall
Fanshawe College’s Innovation Village facility has officially opened.
Innovation Village officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and speeches from donors and local politicians on Jan. 26. The facility is a 95,000-squarefoot building in the centre of Fanshawe’s Oxford St. campus. Its primary goals emphasize practical learning, innovative problem- solving, and industry, staff, and student cooperation.
“It is where students, faculty staff and industry partners collide. Is where they meet and think of great ideas on how to solve challenges most innovatively,” said Fanshawe College president Peter Devlin.
He added Innovation Village will strongly impact the economy of London as Fanshawe aspires to be at the forefront of innovation in the college sector.
“It truly puts us on the map in terms of our dedication to our teachers, students and the community of southwest Ontario, which we fervently support,” Devlin said.
London Mayor Josh Morgan was in attendance at the grand opening and said that since the college pitched the idea years ago, he was invested in getting “more and more involved.”
“It is always hard to see what the vision will be when you are at the right front end of it,” Morgan said. “It was pitched well. The college has always delivered on its commitments.”
He added that he can see the capacity and potential to give students a fantastic experience. He also said partnering with employers looking for talented workforce development would be easier.
“This will help London become a regional economic powerhouse,” Morgan said. “It allows us to compete nationally and globally.”
Morgan said the workforce is not just looking to bring a manufacturing line to London. They are looking to bring research and innovation as well.
Federal Liberal MP Peter Fragiskatos said that the project exceeded his expectations.
“I know how much Fanshawe planned for this and what it means to the college. It will have an enormous impact on students and their families,” Fragiskatos said. “Parents want to see their kids succeed. Success can happen in many ways, but education is at the core of that.”
Fragiskatos added that Innovation Village and the model of education it embraces will help bring students to the front lines of understanding how they can solve everyday problems in the private sector and existing and emerging companies.
“That kind of education model will prove enormously fruitful for the wider Canadian economy and not only the London economy,” Fragiskatos said.
He also mentioned that even though social and economic systems are having challenges integrating international students into colleges, it does not mean that they do not want to continue to work with Fanshawe College.
“We are going to have students here. We are going to have them thriving,” Fragiskatos said. “We will see them succeeding, graduating from here and continuing to contribute to the wider Canadian economy. So I’m very confident in our future regardless.”
According to Devlin, the facility emphasizes the ability to adjust to changes in technology and society.
“With applications in fields including mechanical and medical, virtual training is thought to be a more cost-effective and efficient teaching method for our students. They have all those cutting- edge technologies here and now,” Devlin said.
Morgan said that the research collaborations and highly qualified labour pool that Fanshawe can offer now, with all its technological developments, could attract more businesses to the area.