New NDC building to bring more students, space
Samantha Samson, Editor in Chief
The Notre Dame Campus (NDC) is a getting a bit of a facelift.
The provincial government is giving Red River College some serious cash to build a Skilled Trades and Technology Centre (STTC) at NDC. The building, which will host new workshops and classrooms for certain trades and technology programs, will be about 100,000 square feet and will cost $60 million.
Project manager Patrick Kuzyk said a new building has been talked about for the last 10 years. STTC, he said, is just the first phase for accommodating a national influx of trades students.
“Obviously there’s the need for more students, and the province has been very good about that at many schools,” he said, mentioning new additions at Assiniboine Community College and University College of the North. “This is just the beginning of what could be a 500,000 square foot plan.”
Along with a skylight above an atrium and having workshops on display, Kuzyk said the new building will improve air and light quality, two things Building B at NDC lacks.
“If we don’t provide it, these students have a whole plethora of places they can go to educate themselves,” said Kuzyk. “There’s a real emphasis on great air quality and natural light. The spaces may be the same size, but they’re a much better quality.”
Nancy Wheatley, dean of construction and engineering technologies, said she hopes the new building becomes a collaborative place between trades and technology students, especially since there are so many of them.
“We’ve more than doubled in the last 10 years with the number of trade students at the college,” she said. “I hope they see they’re valued and equal members of the future of the economy of Manitoba, that skilled trades and technology is a vibrant, important piece of our student population.”
One newly graduated student who’s feeling valued is Joshua Wells, RRC construction management grad and project coordinator for the STTC.
Wells was hired by Akman Construction, the company hired to build STTC, before his graduation this past June. He said it’ll be interesting to work from beginning to end on such a large project.
“It’s a very expensive project, so being able to see a big budget building get put together is a great learning opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t really expect to work for the school I just graduated from, but so far I have no complaints.”
Wells said he’s learning how to communicate between owners, trades workers and other clients as well as how to plan for long-term projects.
“It’s been really exciting working on this project mainly because the people I’m working under are very knowledgeable,” said Wells. “Even they say they’re still learning things today. Every job is different in construction, which is one thing I love about it.”
According to Kuzyk, the hope is to eventually improve and expand on Building B. For now, the focus is on building and creating a community in STTC.
“Stages two and three are a long ways off,” he said. “They’re not definite, but we say they’re definitely needed. Otherwise, we’re losing ground to people who’ll just say they’ll go study at another school. We want them educated here so they stay here.”
Construction on STTC started this past May. According to RRC’s website, the project was supposed to take until the end of 2017. Kuzyk said, however, a shuffle in provincial departments has caused delays with contracts, meaning construction has been pushed back.
To the point
• There will be additional parking lots created for students. A temporary one is being built that will wrap around HETC building.
• A permanent, south parking lot should be ready by the end of fall.
• Workers are asking students to be cautious of where they park since it can interfere with their job.
• Trades programs in STTC: carpentry, electrical and heating, sheet metal, ventilating and air conditioning.
• Technology programs in STTC: robotics and automation, hydraulics and pneumatics, materials, electronics, computer aided design.
• STTC will work in conjunction with the CARSI building.
• 350 people can be in the building at once, with 1000 students per day.
• Some students will be transferred from Building B when STTC is built, but more space definitely means more students.