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Lakehead University – Orillia Celebrates Opening of Canada's First LEED® Platinum University Campus

(September 23, 2010 – Orillia, ON) Today, Lakehead University celebrated the opening of its new academic building at 500 University Avenue in Orillia. The new facility represents the first phase in the development of Canada’s first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Platinum university campus.

“With the opening of our new LEED® Platinum campus, we are able to showcase our commitment to environmental sustainability while educating students to be leaders who understand the challenges of the future,” said Lakehead President Dr. Brian Stevenson.
The new $43-million academic building was funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the City of Orillia and by donors to Lakehead – Orillia’s Your Bright Future Campaign, including the County of Simcoe.

"The Government of Canada has invested in innovation and infrastructure to improve the quality of life for Canadians and set the foundation for economic prosperity,” said the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Industry. “This investment has created jobs for people now and in the future, will provide the infrastructure Lakehead University's Orillia Campus will need for years to come, and will encourage innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.”

“This is our future,” said City of Orillia Mayor Ron Stevens, as he pointed to the new building. “The Lakehead – Orillia campus allows students in our communities to be able to afford a university education, a dream that drove the original local pioneers of post-secondary education decades ago,” added Stevens.

Simcoe County Warden, Cal Patterson, also expressed his support for the Lakehead campus. “First and foremost, it’s going to create jobs here. These students can stay in Simcoe County and become successful right here.” Patterson demonstrated the commitment of Simcoe County to the University with a special presentation of a limited edition bust statue of John Graves Simcoe to Lakehead President, Dr. Brian Stevenson.

The new facility represents an exciting evolution for Lakehead’s Orillia-based campus, which first opened in 2006 in downtown Orillia with approximately 120 students. Today, close to 1,000 students are enrolled and attend classes in downtown Orillia, and now at 500 University Avenue.  All undergraduate students study at the new University Avenue facility, while professional and post-degree programs continue to be housed at the downtown location.
“We are delighted with the new building because it realizes every hope we had,” said Kim Fedderson, the dean of the Orillia campus. “We have a particular philosophy of education at Lakehead that is inquiry-based and interdisciplinary. This building was designed with that in mind – it’s student-centred.”

The Grand Opening event offered visitors an opportunity to explore the facility and to see how students are learning amidst the bright, open spaces and state-of-the-art facilities.
For Lakehead to meet the LEED® Platinum certification, which is the highest standard that exists, it made a wide-ranging commitment to go “green”.

The LEED® certification system recognizes performance in five key areas including sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. One of the more distinct and noticeable features of the facility is its green roof. Over 50% of the roof is covered with a natural ground cover, which acts as a cooling agent and helps manage runoff.

The building also uses a geothermal heating system. Over 130 holes were drilled to a depth of 300 feet in order to take advantage of the heat stored below the surface of the earth. Another key and environmentally focused element of the building is its unique rain-water retention pond, which collects water for use in the building’s non-potable water functions such as toilet flushing.

The new academic building is the first phase of construction at the 500 University Avenue site. Lakehead University has developed a master plan for the 85-acre property. The next phase is the completion of a 271-bed residence and construction of a cafeteria, both scheduled to open in September 2011.

The official ceremony concluded with an unveiling of an original painting created by local artist Will McGarvey, to commemorate the opening of the new campus. Poster copies of the painting were distributed to all those in attendance at the Opening.

Further information about the new 500 University Avenue campus and the programs offered at Lakehead – Orillia can be found at the University’s website at

The front entrance of Lakehead-Orillia's
new 500 University Avenue campus
: Kathy Hunt, Communications Officer
(Orillia) at 705-330-4008 ext 2014/ or Heather Scott, Communications Officer (Thunder Bay) at 807-343-8177/

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for innovative programs and cutting-edge research. With a main campus located in Thunder Bay, Ontario and a campus in Orillia, Ontario, Lakehead has over 7,700 students and 2,250 faculty and staff, and is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. In 2006, Research Infosource Inc. named Lakehead University Canada's Research University of the Year in the undergraduate category. For more information on Lakehead University, visit

Last updated September 25, 2010

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