BCIT?s new $76.5-million aerospace training campus, Canada?s first post-secondary institution with control tower simulation technology, will help students and BC?s aerospace training industry develop leading-edge skills, Premier Gordon Campbell said today. ?Aerospace and aviation in B.C. is a growing, multibillion-dollar industry, and this advanced campus will help to ensure the sector has the skilled labour it needs to continue to grow and thrive,? Campbell said at the facility?s official opening. ?BCIT Aerospace is a leading aviation training facility in North America and is well on its way to making B.C. a leader in the growing, specialized area of aircraft manufacturing and maintenance.? The Province provided $16.4 million toward the campus project, with BCIT contributing more than $60 million. The 19,970-square-metre campus has 40 classrooms, computer labs, a library, and a seminar room with global teleconferencing capabilities that support BCIT?s new air traffic management programs. A dramatic, 3,700-square-metre glass hangar houses BCIT?s fleet of 20 helicopters and other aircraft. ?By making investments in post-secondary education, we are supporting BCIT?s commitment to providing world-class programs in aviation maintenance and repair,? said Advanced Education Minister Murray Coell. ?We are also increasing access to these programs. This new campus will provide 500 new student spaces now, and by 2010, there will be 1,000.? BCIT is the first post-secondary institution in Canada to feature a control tower simulator that recreates the air traffic control environment in every detail. The sophisticated, three-dimensional training system uses virtual radar to simulate planes in flight, landing, and docking in the terminal. The Richmond campus was designed to protect the surrounding natural habitat and minimize its environmental impact. Notably, the building is set well back from the Fraser River?s shoreline, and a greenbelt buffer of trees and bushes was preserved to form a natural break between the river and the campus. An energy-efficient, geothermal heat pump system for heating and cooling will use the hangar slab as a heat source for workshops and classrooms. ?BCIT?s aerospace graduates are working in this dynamic sector across the globe, and with the opening of this new campus, BCIT marks a new era of aviation education in British Columbia, while at the same time celebrating our 50th year of aerospace training,? said Verna Magee-Shepherd, BCIT?s acting president. ?The tremendous public and private support we?ve received for the new training centre will ensure B.C. continues to be at the forefront of this industry.? ?The aerospace industry stands to benefit greatly from the advanced graduates this new leading-edge campus will produce,? said Jerry Lampert, chair of BCIT?s Aerospace Technology Campus Campaign Cabinet. ?The government?s commitment to the aerospace industry in B.C. through investments in training, technology and infrastructure will help ensure future growth needs are met in this province and across the country.? In June 2003, Premier Campbell announced a new aerospace strategy that included a $20-million provincial investment to help create 500 new training spaces for aerospace-related programs. The Province supports the growing provincial, national and international aerospace industry in B.C. through a network delivering world-class education and training, including innovation and technology transfer. The provincial aerospace network includes more than 670 training seats in Richmond, Abbotsford, Dawson Creek, Vernon, Kelowna, Victoria and Campbell River.