Official Opening and Dedication of Harriss Hall

CBUs Newest Residence Accommodation

(Sydney, NS) – Today, Cape Breton University President and Vice-Chancellor, Dr. John Harker along with CBU Board of Governors Chair, Norma Boyd, officially opened and dedicated Harriss Hall, CBU’s newest residence accommodation and first dining hall. Named in honour of Victor J. Harriss, successful Cape Breton entrepreneur and one of CBU’s most significant donors, this modern and beautifully designed facility is an exciting addition to CBU’s growing campus.

“As our student population evolves, our campus must grow as well,” said President Harker. “While the greatest numbers of students continue to originate from the local area, CBU’s presence in national and international markets is flourishing and bringing additional students to our campus. We are becoming a global campus and are proud to provide exceptional student services to all who joins us to pursue their studies. Many decisions linked to Harriss Hall were the result of student recommendations. We listened and we responded accordingly. Harriss Hall is a true testament of CBU’s changing environment and collaborative thinking. We are a diverse campus and students can now more fully enjoy our expanding services in an environmentally and aesthetically pleasing setting.

The 11.7 million dollar facility boasts 111 single beds, with a mix of private and shared washroom facilities, a 300 seat dining hall and central mailroom that services all on-campus students. There is also evening security on site. Like all other CBU living accommodations, this residence is co-ed; however it is reserved for students in their second year or higher. The dining hall offers more food options than ever before and students can enjoy a variety of seating accommodations from soft seating booths to bar style tables. There is also a living room area complete with a flat screen TV, fireplace, and shelving for books and games.

“Harriss Hall is definitely a welcomed addition to an already vibrant campus,” said Allison Haley, CBUSU President. “The excitement surrounding this accommodation can be felt all over campus. Students are ecstatic about the new dining hall and larger menu selection and they love the idea of “My Pantry”. Harriss Hall is another great example of the services provided for the student body at CBU.”

Haley notes students’ needs were, without doubt, integrated during the planning and design stages of the facility. “Just walk around the residence – it is evident that students were taken into consideration.”

Keeping with CBU’s goal to be an environmentally responsible campus, Harriss Hall utilizes a number of environmentally friendly initiatives

• A vertical closed loop geothermal system is used to heat and cool the building – a first for the campus and to the best of CBU’s knowledge, the first university residence in Canada to use this technology. Also known as an earth energy system, it includes 33 wells drilled to a depth of 400’ft. It will require significantly less energy compared to typical residence heating and cooling systems.

• The Harriss Hall kitchen uses a highly efficient ventilation system that will capture 30% less air and provide similar energy savings. In a typical commercial kitchen, 56% of the energy usage is associated with the heating of replacement air for ventilation.

• Insulation in the exterior walls has been increased beyond the requirements of the National Building Code.

• Externally, the parking lot was designed using a Storm Water Capture System that allows rain water to drain naturally into the ground rather than directly into a storm drain for most rainfall events.


Cape Breton University is extremely proud to name its newest residence and first dining hall, in honour of Victor J. Harriss. A successful local entrepreneur with a long business history in this community, he took pleasure in expanding his knowledge while expanding his business. At the time of his passing, he chose to share a portion of his estate with Cape Breton University and the Cape Breton Regional Hospital Foundation, among others. “Vic Harris was a most generous benefactor to this university and we are privileged to have one of our finest buildings maintain recognition of the Harriss name and all that it represents.” stated President Harker. “His legacy will undoubtedly create new opportunities for CBU, and its students, who will be the community leaders of the future. While the full extent of Mr. Harriss’ donation is not yet known, CBU has to date received over $2 million. Such gifts make an enormous difference to a university such as ours and we will be forever grateful for his generosity.”