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More than 80 people braved the cold to attend Friday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new School of Medicine building.

“This particular gathering is a metaphor for the tenacity needed to do this in less than optimal circumstances,” Vice-Principal (Academic) Patrick Deane said jokingly to those standing under a tent set up on site at Arch and Stuart streets.

School of Medicine Dean David Walker ceremonially dug a pile of dirt using an excavator.

The federal and provincial governments announced on May 25 they would contribute $56.7 million to the project.

Queen’s will raise the remaining $19.3 million, Walker said, adding that the medical school has raised $13.1 million to date.

The $76-million building is expected to be finished by March 2011.

MPP John Gerretsen and Senator Hugh Segal spoke at the event.

Gerretsen thanked Walker for pushing both levels of government for funding.

“He’s a very persistent bulldog,” Gerretsen said. “This is good for Kingston, for Queen’s and it’s good for every one of us and for those who follow us.”

Gloria Er-Chua

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