Red Deer Polytechnic is looking to make a significant upgrade to its Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing in the next few years. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer Polytechnic is looking to make a significant upgrade to its Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing in the next few years. (Contributed photo)

Red Deer Polytechnic eyes $16 million expansion to Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing

Institution representatives met with government officials earlier this week

Red Deer Polytechnic is planning a $16-million expansion to its Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing (CIM-TAC).

“This is a centre that has significantly performed, particularly in the last couple of years,” said RDP president Stuart Cullum.

“It’s been around since 2009 and has provided significant value to the industries and companies that it serves in the region. In the last couple of years, it’s had enhanced funding from the federal government to hire additional staff, put in additional equipment and add additional capacity.”

As a Technology Access Centre located on the RDP campus, the CIM-TAC is described as a key hub of the central Alberta innovation community. The centre’s team helps businesses and entrepreneurs bring ideas to life, create prototypes, solve industry problems and access funding to develop new projects and expand their business.

In 2021, the centre served more than 80 projects with 60-plus companies, while seeing more than 500 business and industry partners engagements, Cullum noted.

The CIM-TAC is reaching its limit in terms of capacity, Cullum said.

“This expansion will allow us to increase that capacity so we can serve more partners, more companies,” he said.

“It will also allow us to add additional capacity for skilling and re-skilling of folks within the industry and it will allow us to serve other learners, both connected to our education training at Red Deer Polytechnic as well as the K-12 system … through dual-credit programming and other things.”

The expansion would take the centre from 15,000 square-feet to 25,000 and add additional equipment.

Some of the $16 million funding would come from RDP, but the post-secondary institution is asking the provincial government to provide $12.7 million for the expansion.

RDP officials met with multiple ministers in Edmonton this week to discuss the institution and the CIM-TAC expansion.

“I think there’s a real sense that Red Deer Polytechnic is an institution that’s well-positioned to support central Alberta and Alberta generally,” said Cullum.

“The cool thing about the CIM-TAC is that it provides a foundational capacity for a number of industries: health, alternative energy, agriculture, oil and gas. There are a lot of different industries that are supported by this centre and that’s a message we wanted to share. I think that was well received by the ministers in Edmonton.”

Cullum said RDP’s ask was for the government to consider the expansion within the 2023 budget cycle.

“The Government of Alberta is putting together the list of investments they’re going to make within the next provincial budget. Our expectation is that this would be something that could be considered within that cycle,” said Cullum.

Assuming provincial funding would be approved, the expansion project would likely be implemented in phases, he added.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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