Centre opening at the Exchange District Campus later this year

By: Delaney O’Hara

This year, Red River College Polytechnic is opening a space at the Exchange District Campus for students and community members to develop their skills with advanced technology and programs: the Innovation Centre.

The plans for the Innovation Centre were conceived in 2016, according to Maria Mendes, the director of capital projects at RRC Polytech.

“Students were always front and center in our minds when we made any type of design decision,” said Mendes.

The opening of the new building and more in-person classes means students will get to enjoy the space soon.

“I’m excited just to see students enjoying the building and using the building as it was intended,” said Mendes. “And to see what comes out of it, the creativity and everything that they do.”

The College will offer many programs in the new space, including Business, Creative Arts, Indigenous, IT, and Language Training.

Douglas Darling, a Digital Film and Media instructor at RRC Polytech, said he is excited about the new technology that will be offered at the centre for both instructors and students.

“My experience as a student at RRC was getting to handle some of the most advanced technology, and that really set me up for after graduation,” said Darling. “So, I’m hoping that [the Innovation Centre] can do the same for current students.”

The building will be connected to the Roblin Centre with a skywalk. There will be an ACE Project Space (project development space), indoor bike storage, two Digital Teaching Studios, and more.

The bridge that connects the Innovation Centre to the Roblin Centre at the Exchange District Campus./DELANEY O’HARA

The Innovation Centre was built with sustainability in mind. The building is set to be RRC Polytech’s fourth Leader in Energy and Environmental design (LEED)-certified building.

It is also the first building in North America with Kromatix Building Integrated Photovoltaics, a type of solar panel windows, according to the college’s website.

The new building features Indigenous artwork by Anishinaabe artist Jackie Traverse and Cree/British artist KC Adams. The College included this artwork to provide representation and inspiration for Indigenous students.

Mendes said the emphasis on Indigenous students and community members is important as it represents the core values of RRC Polytech.

“It’s important for students to see themselves reflected in the building,” said Mendes.

The Innovation Centre also has a Roundhouse Auditorium that students and staff can use for traditional teaching, ceremonies, and large events.

The Roundhouse Auditorium, and the round meeting room below it, is fully ventilated to allow the use of sacred medicines. The college is currently working with Indigenous Elders and stakeholders to name the Innovation Centre.