New and returning students will be happy to know that they no longer have to dodge city blocks of construction or hear the pounding of a jackhammer throughout an early lecture. The Research and Academic Centre, East wing (RAC East) is open.

The long-awaited RAC East officially opened on Aug. 19, 2011 with an accompanying tour for university and city officials. Mayor Chris Friel, Brant MP Phil McColeman and MPP Dave Levac were present.

The tour began at the entrance on Dalhousie and Charlotte Street where Dr. Leslie Cooper, Vice President led the group into a main foyer. One is immediately struck by the floor to ceiling windows that continue throughout the building.

After passing through a lecture hall that seats 200 students, the tour moved towards the seemingly endless office spaces on the upper level.

Laurier Brantford’s first Archaeology lab stood barren as it had yet to be furnished. The building is equipped with multiple wet and dry labs.

It seems at if each corner or hallway hosts a student lounge or study area – some that can even be found outdoors.

The second-story catwalk windows overlook the immaculate courtyard, located between RAC East, Post House, the Student Centre and The Aboriginal Services Building, formerly the Journalism House.

Laurier Brantford’s Aboriginal Services have spread beyond the Services Building. The RAC East tour was led to a dual purposed room for Six Nations and Anishinabe students.

Architectural innovation can be found among the wooden walls that initially create a rectangular long house. When looking to the ceiling one can notice the attached circular track. This track allows the walls to be pulled to create a full circular round house.

After continuing on through additional office spaces, lounges, retail spaces, and a student coffee-stop (name to be released) the tour came to a close. Kevin Klein, External Relations Coordinator, explained the green initiatives within the building.

“RAC East will reach the silver level LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, or so we’re anticipating,” says Klein. “Even the building process was planned to divert waste.”

And that it did. Throughout the building of Dalhousie Street’s newest addition, 93.8 per cent of waste was diverted. Other green initiatives can be found in the reuse of plumbing water and wall-sized windows which heat the building with natural light. These architectural design elements carry through to RAC West, the attached building.

RAC East has much to offer to both the Laurier and Brantford communities.

“I’ve spoke to mayors from neighboring towns and they want to know how to do exactly this,” says Friel. “Laurier is growing quick and it is a huge asset to the greater community.”

“This building is a great investment for Brantford, I’m excited to see it filled with students,” explains McColeman.

Students can expect to have assigned classes in RAC East this coming semester.