Specialized extreme weather testing facility coming to RRC

Janelle Hulme, CONTRIBUTOR

Red River College (RRC) students will be getting their hands dirty—and cold—in an extreme weather testing facility in the Heavy Equipment Transportation Centre at RRC’s Notre Dame Campus.

A funding announcement on Nov. 25 confirmed $6 million dollars will be put towards the construction of the second phase of the project. The funding comes from a combination of provincial funding, federal grants, and RRC.

MotiveLab is the first of its kind in Western Canada. The 3,000 square-foot chamber will be able to function as a giant heater or freezer. The college said the project will allow companies to test heavy vehicles such as transit and highway buses year-round in extreme temperatures. It will also provide an opportunity for students to receive specialized training in the industry.

“It [MotiveLab] will give us an advantage of what we can provide for students, and improve the course load we already have. Anything like this is a positive aspect for students,” said Adam Taplin, the Red River College Students’ Association president.

“Manitoba’s heavy vehicle manufacturing sector is a cornerstone of our economy, and this research and testing facility is a direct result of our close ties with manufacturers, as well as our efforts to meet current and future training and technology needs,” said RRC president Paul Vogt in a news release.

The press release also said the heavy vehicle sector has high environmental demands to meet, and that MotiveLab will allow the college to begin testing alternative fuels.

“It is very reassuring to know that buses will be tested on how well they handle weather. Especially in Winnipeg where we experience extreme cold and lots of snow,” said Jessica Manns, 21, a Red River College student who doesn’t feel safe taking the bus in the winter.

Several companies have already booked 65 full days of MotiveLab services to conduct research and development in the facility, according to the RRC blog.