Red Deer College officials have seen new interest in a major infrastructure project at the school after the recent recession had momentarily closed many funding channels.
Michael Donlevy, associate vice president of community relations at RDC, said there was a bit of a hiatus with the economic downturn as individuals and companies focused on their overall economic well-being and the stability of their companies, with some putting a moratorium on major gifts.
But he said now the fundraising for the Building Communities Through Learning initiative has begun to regain momentum, with companies showing interest in the Centre for Sport and Wellness and the Centre for Health Education.
“We believe there is strong community interest in this. The key is a willingness on the part of the province to consider this as a priority project,” Donlevy said. “We are working in close co-operation with MLAs and continue to push this forward but we haven’t gotten approval yet and that is key.”
Last week, the college received $250,000 in funding from Cord WorleyParsons, and has collected $16-million in community and corporate funding so far for the overall project, which includes the first four centres and the two proposed centres. In all to move forward with the project the college needs an additional $20 million in community and corporate funding and $136 million in provincial funding.
The second stage of Building Communities Through Learning will include the Centre for Sport and Wellness and the Centre for Health Education.
“This is about community access to health and wellness facilities,” Donlevy said.
He said the community would have access to the ice surface, field houses, indoor track and gymnasium that are planned for the new facilities, but the college would also work in partnership with Alberta Health Services, allowing students to get practicum training and the public to use the space. He said there could be things like cardiac fitness testing, a post operative athletic injuries clinic or an obesity management clinic.
The new facilities would also allow RDC to train more registered nurses, licenced practical nurses, healthcare aids and put more students in the adaptive kinesiology programs.
“The key for us is this is about community wellness as well as education all in one place,” Donlevy said.