Red Deer College has received $4.5 million in funding to revamp facilities on campus.
Half of the money comes from the federal government’s Knowledge Infrastructure Program and the other half was matched by the provincial government.
“It’s a real gift for us and it will make a tremendous difference in our ability to serve learners,” said RDC president Ron Woodward on Friday.
“It’s enabling us to move people from really bad facilities into first-rate facilities.”
What had formerly been visual arts classrooms will be redone to house new programs and offices, with the visual arts courses moving to the new Centre for Visual Art in the next couple months.
The former teaching kitchen — which has resided in a double-wide trailer for the last two decades — will move into the old sculpture studio. Once that space is refurbished, it will serve as both a teaching kitchen and mixology lab for hospitality and tourism and cooking apprenticeship students.
The old ceramics studio and kiln will become two nursing labs, which will eventually house human simulation devices, which are medical robots that can simulate a heart attack, appendicitis and other medical conditions.
Information technology staff, who provide computer support for the college, will move into newly redone offices. All of the projects are expected to be completed by the end of the year.
“I am here to tell you we don’t have shovel ready projects, we have shovel busy projects,” said Woodward, as work was already underway behind him on Friday on improving the facilities.
Red Deer MP Earl Dreeshen was on campus to make the announcement and said the funding will benefit the community in the short-term with jobs and economic stimulus and in the long-term with better teaching and training facilities.
“Our government is working hard to help Canadians through this economic downturn. We’re stimulating our economy and making the investments necessary to ensure the country’s long-term prosperity,” Dreeshen said.
Woodward said RDC officials hope the college may still receive some more funding from the federal government to help improve mechanical and electrical infrastructure on campus. He said they also continue to consult with the provincial government for funding of the second phase of the Building Communities Through Learning project.