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$1-million gift builds new construction materials testing facility

April 23, 2013 — 

Students and researchers in the department of civil engineering at the University of Manitoba will soon have the opportunity to conduct innovative work in a new facility for testing construction materials thanks to a generous gift of $1 million from Saul and Henry Koschitzky (BSc.EP/58) and their families.

Established over 60 years ago, IKO is engaged in the manufacture and sale of asphalt roofing materials. The IKO family of companies has more than 25 manufacturing plants throughout the United States, Canada and Europe.

The IKO Construction Materials Testing Facility at the University of Manitoba will provide the Faculty of Engineering with three new leading-edge laboratories and equipment for construction materials research.

“The new facility will give us the capability to provide a comprehensive approach to the development of construction materials that will make a significant difference to the construction industry,” says University of Manitoba President and Vice-Chancellor David Barnard. “The IKO Construction Materials Testing Facility will also provide the university with the tools to develop new technologies to educate the next generation of engineers and researchers.”

The new facility will consist of three laboratories at 102 Dafoe Road on the University of Manitoba campus, including environmental chambers to allow material testing to at least -40°C. Research will involve monitoring the performance of building components under freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycles. The donation will also allow for the renovation and upgrade of current lab space. More than 400 students are expected to use the facility each year.

Jonathan Beddoes, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, notes: “This generous gift from the Koschitzky family will also help our researchers work with graduate students and continue to build collaborations and partnerships with the construction industry and its suppliers, trade associations and government partners. This facility will be a world-class centre for the development of advanced construction materials.”

“Our family believes in the Jewish concept hakarat hatov, which means expressing thanks and showing gratitude for the benefits that one receives from others. Both my brother Saul and I had the privilege of studying at the University of Manitoba where I graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering Physics,” says Henry Koschitzky, president and CEO of IKO Industries. “We both wish to express our gratitude for the privilege of studying there and hope our contribution to the  university will help present and future students in their studies and create a venue for research and progress.”

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