Victoria –

A new 500-seat auditorium has opened at Royal Roads University (RRU).

The county announced Friday that the multi-purpose building, known as the Dogwood Auditorium, will be open for reservations for public events from January 2022.

The building has a large exhibition space with retractable seating and a dividing wall that can divide the room into two parts, a media services room, a meeting room and a multi-purpose room.

The district adds that the newly renovated building incorporates a “geographical energy exchange system” that is more energy efficient than conventional heating sources.

According to county officials, Doge is “the largest conference space in Westshore” and may also host the university’s holding ceremony in the future.

“This building is an excellent example of our government’s collaboration with post-secondary institutions to invest in infrastructure that supports students and communities,” said Ann Kang, British Columbia’s Minister for Advanced Education.

“The renovation of this historic space for a modern purpose creates a place where students can learn and the RRU can interact with the community, engage in partnerships, and welcome everyone to its beautiful campus,” she said.

Dogwood Auditorium is located on the site of the university’s former squash courts and locker rooms. The building was originally built in 1959 and served as a swimming pool for the former Royal Roads Military School.

It cost about $15.2 million to build Dogwood Hall, with the county providing $14.6 million in funding and the university contributing $600,000.

“I am delighted that the partnership between our government and RRU gives us the first convention center of this capacity on the Westshore,” Mitzi Dean, MLA for Esquimalt-Metchosin said in a statement Friday.

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“I am excited to have a place to gather, learn and build our community,” she said.