A first-of-its-kind facility got the grand opening it deserved. More than 200 people were on hand Nov. 16 as Georgian College officially opened the new Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre.

The $30-million, three-story, 56,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art centre features computer-aided design (CAD), computer-aided manufacturing (CAM) and geographic information system (GIS) labs, as well as a dedicated telepresence room, anechoic chamber, electrical lab and technical project space.

Members from all levels of government, industry partners, major donors and the local community were in attendance to help Georgian celebrate the opening of the centre in front of a 24-foot by six-foot-high digital wall in the ABSC event space on the third floor.

“Throughout his long career, Peter Moore has always understood the importance of innovation and changing technologies,” explained MaryLynn West-Moynes, Georgian College president and CEO. “We are grateful for his vision, leadership and generosity in recognizing our centre as a valuable incubator of collaborative partnerships between students, academia and industry, which will promote innovation to develop Central Ontario’s economy.”

“He is also humble,” added West-Moynes. “And prefers to keep the amount of the donation private.”

The facility includes the Alectra Centre for Research, Innovation and Commercialization that will provide students and industry partners with access to research, incubator, changemaker and fabrication space.

The centre is also home to the first engineering, environmental sustainability and computer science degrees in Central Ontario. Offered in partnership with Lakehead University, the programs allow students to graduate in just four years with a degree and advanced diploma.

“I was so happy with the impact that my first gift had helping students in the changemaker space that I decided I wanted to do something bigger,” said Moore, who made a donation in 2014. “I believe this centre will take economic growth in our region to the next level and I’m very proud and excited to play a part in supporting the next generation of innovators.”

Guests were welcomed by students using roving iPad robots and were given a tour of the facility. That included watching a variety of student and faculty demonstrations showcasing many of the new technologies being explored in the centre – from environmental and engineering advances to virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

“The benefits of the new Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre are many,” West-Moynes said. “Not only will it be the go-to source to develop and incubate ideas, test concepts and showcase promise research and new products, it will enable greater industrial competitiveness and resiliency through access to research, technology and innovation infrastructure.”

The centre received funding from all four levels of government, which included $10.8 million through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The provincial government contributed $1.8 million and the County of Simcoe and the City of Barrie provided $5 million each toward the project.

“Creating good jobs in Barrie means having research and development happen here,” said Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman. “The opening of the Peter. B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre means businesses will have better access to research, allowing for new opportunities and innovations. The centre will play a huge part in driving our economy and community forward.”

Other financial support was also received from Alectra Utilities, the Automotive Business School of Canada Board of Directors, Georgian College Students’ Association, Auto IQ.ca Network of Dealerships, Innovative Automation and Jane Brown Jackson.

Photo: Georgian College president and CEO MaryLynn West-Moynes (left) and Power of Education Campaign cabinet chair Michael Stollery (right) celebrate the official opening of the Peter B. Moore Advanced Technology Centre with Peter B. Moore. Georgian College photo

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