County gets name in new college building

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Big Lakes County will have its name on a classroom at the new Northern Lakes College campus under construction in High Prairie.

At its regular meeting Aug. 14, council supported a college request to sponsor a room for $100,000.

Funds will be paid over five years starting in 2020.

“It’s worthy of support,” High Prairie East – Banana Belt Councillor Don Charrois says.

“It’s a great thing.”

Council will sponsor a classroom for the trades program, suggested by South Sunset House – Gilwood Councillor Ann Stewart.

“We really need trades people in our area,” Stewart says.

The college is giving naming rights to sponsor a room, says Dave McReynolds, interim director of corporate services.

North Gilwood – Triangle Councillor Ken Matthews says sponsorship programs for college building projects are common.

Government funding covers the basic building, CAO Jordan Panasiuk says.

Funding of $21.6 million for a new consolidated campus was announced in 2017.

The college values the project to the community.

“We are aware of the importance of having access to post-secondary education in the region,” NLC president Ann Everatt says in a letter to council.

“We are committed to ensure that the High Prairie region has full access to a wide range of post-secondary programs well into the future.”

The college will combine its health services site downtown, academic campus and the trades training center at Tolko OSB plant west of town into one consolidated campus.

College leadership is excited about the project.

Plans for the two- storey 33,000-square- foot building will welcome the first culinary arts program in the college and include three trades labs for carpentry, mechanics and welding and metalwork in the project designed by Manasc Isaac Architects.

One of the key new features is that it will have open or exposed walls for electrical and geothermal components in some areas, so it will be a teaching tool for students.

Natural wood décor, plenty of natural light, open space and room to grow will also be incorporated into the building.

The building will be handicapped accessible and also include special attention to female students and First Nations communities and common areas for students to collaborate.

Everatt says the new facility will include 33 individual learning suites, 12 classrooms and a health programs lab with space to accommodate up to eight beds.

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