(For interviews and photos, see: New Kwantlen Polytechnic University fashion school inspired by a utopian dream)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University will be home to a new design school in 2015. Premier Christy Clark announced the construction of the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design—a 4,900 square-meter facility at the post-secondary institution’s Richmond campus—today (December 7).
The $36-million project is a partnership between the B.C. government, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, lululemon athletica owners Chip and Shannon Wilson, and the lululemon company. The provincial government and university will each contribute $12 million, while the remaining donation is comprised of $8 million from the Wilsons and $4 million from lululemon.
"B.C. is known as a global hub for technical apparel design. The new Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design will ensure British Columbians are first in line to take advantage of new opportunities in this growing industry," Premier Clark stated in a news release. "Our government is proud to partner with the Wilsons and Kwantlen Polytechnic University to build this new school."
The new school will include teaching studios, testing and prototype labs, student study spaces, a materials research centre, and gallery space. The building will accommodate 651 students—a 57 percent increase in the number of design students attending Kwantlen—and is expected to help meet predicted labour-market demands for apparel designers in B.C.
"Our province is the perfect testing ground for technical apparel —you don't have to go far to find inspiration," Shannon Wilson stated. "Our vision is for B.C. to become the global hub for athletic performance apparel and recreational products, and the first step is to provide a place to cultivate design talent. I am thrilled that KPU and the Province have partnered with Chip and I as well as lululemon to achieve this."
Construction of the Chip and Shannon Wilson School of Design will begin in fall 2013 and be ready for student intake in September 2015.
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.