Gateway Gazette

Alberta Colleges Receive Much-needed Funding

Four colleges across the province will receive more than $21.78 million to improve student learning opportunities and campus infrastructure.

Minister Schmidt and other post-secondary representatives get a tour of Keyano College’s power and processing engineering lab.

Twelve projects at the colleges will receive funding from the provincial government and the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF).

The money will contribute to the modernization of existing facilities, improve the energy efficiency of campuses and enhance student access to innovative spaces while contributing to the economic diversification of the province, creating over 400 new construction jobs. Project dollars will go towards:

  • Keyano College: Clearwater Campus and Suncor Energy Industrial Campus upgrades, power and process engineering lab and Doug Schmidt Lecture Hall upgrades.
  • Grande Prairie Regional College: National Bee Diagnostic Centre and science wing renovations.
  • Portage College: technology upgrades, construction of water and wastewater lab and construction of new lab and greenhouse.
  • Lethbridge College: Aquaculture Centre of Excellence and Trades and Technology Renewal and Innovation Project.

“Supporting our colleges with these significant infrastructure investments will ensure Albertans have access to state-of-the-art learning opportunities and create much-needed jobs to stimulate and grow our economy.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

“This historic investment by the Government of Canada is a down payment on the government’s vision to position Canada as a global centre for innovation. That means making Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into middle-class jobs and startup companies into global successes.”

David Lametti, parliamentary secretary of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

“As a result of these investments, Keyano College will be better positioned to meet the post-secondary education needs of our students, our communities and our industries, both now and into the future.”

Tracy Edwards, president and CEO of Keyano College

“This investment enables Grande Prairie Regional College to address the exponential growth in demand for its diagnostic services from the beekeeping industry, government and researchers from around the world. The National Bee Diagnostic Centre, a technology access centre, will increase its capacity and continue to work with producers and government to address the health of Canada’s honeybee population and increase research and learning opportunities for students.”

Don Gnatiuk, president and CEO of Grande Prairie Regional College

“Lethbridge College is grateful for the generous funding through the federal government’s Strategic Investment Fund and its partnership with the Government of Alberta. This fall, the college is opening the largest trades and technologies training facility south of Calgary, and the SIF funding will be used to develop an innovation space that will enable students, faculty and industry professionals to do applied research that can have a direct impact on regional economic and social sustainability in a wide range of disciplines. Additionally, the power upgrade in our Aquaculture Centre of Excellence will allow the college to accommodate the growth of this facility while working with a diverse range of industry partners.”

Paula Burns, president and CEO of Lethbridge College

“Portage College has received funding for three projects that will help the college enhance its suite of environmental programs, expand future programming and support remote learners. The investment will provide the Natural Resources Technology program with a greenhouse that, along with other facility enhancements, will support applied research in environmental sciences. The funding for our new Water and Wastewater Management program allows the college to develop classrooms and labs to support program delivery. This funding will also allow for the planning of a larger, permanent facility to further support improved water management in our region. Portage College has also received significant financial support from Lac La Biche County, which has been partnering with the college on the Water and Wastewater Management project. Finally, this investment will enable the college to enhance its IT infrastructure to support our remote learners across the region. We appreciate the investments in our institution and are pleased to move forward on these initiatives.”

Trent Keough, president and CEO of Portage College

The province has committed to investing $734 million towards new post-secondary infrastructure projects by 2020-21, plus an additional $676 million for capital maintenance and renewal. This investment, combined with the federal government’s SIF contribution, will generate direct economic activity and improve research and innovative infrastructure for students in Alberta.

Funded projects

Keyano College

More than $6.8 million under the federal government’s SIF program will be invested in five projects to ensure students have access to quality facilities and innovative technologies that will be vital to rebuilding the community and ensuring Fort McMurray continues to be an economic driver of Alberta’s energy sector. It is anticipated that more than 70 construction jobs will be created for the completion of these projects.

  • A $1.3-million SIF investment will go towards the completion of the power and process engineering lab, increase program enrolment and improve training opportunities for regional professionals.
  • Energy-efficient improvements at the Clearwater Campus will include replacement of the buildings’ management system, motor-control centres, windows, skylights and exterior fire doors. Federal investment in this project is $1.9 million.
  • Upgrading the heating plant will further improve energy efficiency at the Clearwater Campus and lower operating costs. Federal investment is approximately $3 million.
  • Renovation of the Suncor Energy Industrial Campus will include replacing condenser units and overhead doors and renovating campus facilities to modernize the campus and lower operating costs. Federal investment in this project is $260,000.
  • Modernization of the Doug Schmidt Lecture Hall will upgrade video technology to deliver education and training to rural and Indigenous communities. The federal contribution is $242,500.

Grande Prairie Regional College

Grande Prairie Regional College will receive $6.1 million from the provincial and federal governments to modernize facilities and improve student access to innovative research opportunities, which will create approximately 120 construction jobs in the area.

  • The college will receive $1.5 million from the provincial government and $3 million from the federal government to expand the National Bee Diagnostic Centre. This expansion will position the college as the National Centre of Excellence for Bees.
  • Renovation of the science wing labs will provide students with modern facilities and access to industry-standard equipment. This project will receive $1.6 million from the federal SIF program.

Portage College

Three projects at Portage College will receive more than $1.6 million to support students’ educational needs by improving technological infrastructure and upgrading facilities. More than 90 construction jobs will be created in completing these projects.

  • Federal investment of $210,000 will modernize technological infrastructure to support future teaching and learning opportunities in rural and Indigenous communities.
  • Repurposing science labs and constructing a greenhouse will support the Natural Resource Technology program. This project will receive $300,250 from the province and $400,250 from the federal government.
  • Construction of a Water and Wastewater Simulator lab will deliver hands-on training in water management and address the critical need for water operators in northeastern municipalities, First Nations and Metis settlements. Total SIF investment is $752,460.

Lethbridge College

More than $7.1 million will be provided to Lethbridge College to accommodate the college’s growth plan and ability to support Alberta’s transition to a diverse and modern economy. Approximately 135 new construction jobs will be added by the completion of the two projects.

  • With $6.4 million from the SIF program, the Trades and Technology Renewal and Innovation Project will continue to build capacity for students and staff to develop and research energy-efficient technologies.

Upgrades to the power system at the Aquaculture Centre of Excellence will ensure continued research and growth of aquaponics. This $700,000 project will receive $350,000 from both the federal and provincial governments.

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