While 2017 was one of the most dynamic years of future-focused planning and construction that our College has ever seen, I am enthused and optimistic about our ability to make 2018 a year to remember. We are about to embark on a period of growth and opportunity that is unparalleled in our 54-year history. This growth will have a positive impact on our learners and on our businesses and industry partners from across central Alberta for many years to come.
We will open three new buildings in 2018. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris, the new Residence and the Alternative Energy Lab. These capital projects will add amazing new teaching, learning and community use spaces for all to enjoy. Never in our history have we been so active in building new facilities – all in a recession, or slow-down, in our economy. When it comes to facilities for teaching, learning, innovation and research, RDC is leaping into the future. Through our three major construction projects, we will increase the capacity on main campus by almost 30%, and we will have nearly 1.2 million square feet of teaching and learning spaces.
As a major partner in the 2019 Canada Winter Games, housing the athletes on campus and hosting five of the events in our Gary W. Harris Canada Winter Games Centre, our College will become a hub of activity, and a showcase nationally. What an opportunity for us to show all of Canada what a progressive, inclusive College we are.
As important as new, innovative facilities are, the foundation of everything we do comes from the teaching and learning that happens at RDC. Over the past year, we have done extensive research and planning that will allow us to continue offering the best possible mix of programs to our learners. The preparation of the Red Deer College Institutional Self-Study, a document that RDC submitted to Campus Alberta Quality Council in July, supports our application for two new applied degrees through the School of Creative Arts. It also establishes the groundwork for our goal of achieving degree-granting status on a broader scale.
In addition, RDC has developed a Ten-Year Program Mix Plan to provide a framework for current and future learning opportunities. This document connects the dots between program development and industry needs, and it ensures that we continue offering the types of programs that lead to great careers and fulfilling lives.
Our future is possible thanks to our connection with the communities across central Alberta. Perhaps you and your friends and family members have taken programs here, or perhaps you have taken advantage of the wide range of other opportunities on offer at RDC. Bright and creative areas such as our Library Information Common and Makerspace are available for members of the community to use, as well as a wide range of other spaces that can be booked for events, training and tournaments. This is, in fact, your College and you are always welcome.
Without a doubt, RDC contributes to the intellectual, economic, cultural and social development of the region. If you would like to learn even more about Red Deer College and our connection with central Alberta, please join me and my Board colleagues at the upcoming State of the College Address, which will be held in the RDC Arts Centre at 4:30 p.m. on February 12.
We are very proud of how our College is part of this region, and we look forward to sharing this information with you.
Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College