Selkirk College officially broke ground on its $18.9 million Silver King Campus renewal project and welcomed a new funding partner that will help transform the learning environment at the Nelson facility.
The joint federal-provincial investment of $16.18 million was announced by the Honourable Navdeep Bains, federal Minister of Innovation, Science & Economic Development and Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education for the Province of British Columbia. Selkirk College students and staff joined community members at the Silver King Campus on Tuesday where the news was delivered.
Selkirk College students and staff were joined by industry partners and members of the community for the official ground breaking ceremony. Those helping break ground included (front L-R) Vice President of Student Advancement Cathy Mercer, Director of Facilities Ron Zaitsoff, President Angus Graeme, Minister of Advanced Education Andrew Wilkinson, Electrical Foundation Program student David Collier, Nelson Mayor Deb Kozak, Selkirk College Board of Governors Chair Sharel Wallace, Vice President of College Services Gary Leier, Chair of the School of Industry & Trades Rob Schwarzer, Dean Kate Pelletier and Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall.
“Selkirk College is celebrating 50 years of helping to build a vibrant Kootenay region and preparing students for success,” said Wilkinson, who visited the region to take part in the ceremony. “The rejuvenation of the Silver King Campus positions Selkirk for another golden 50 years of helping students to build a bright future for their families and community.”
The funding announcement will support the project that encompasses the repurposing of three existing trades buildings. The construction of a student commons building is also part of the project and will include a new cafeteria, multi-purpose open study area, student services offices and an Aboriginal gathering place.
Investing in Future Students
Of the $16.8 million announced funding, $5.84 million is being funded through the Government of Canada’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund and $10.34 million is being provided by the Government of British Columbia through its Skills for Jobs Blueprint commitment to invest $185 million in trades training facilities and equipment.
Andrew Wilkinson, Minster of Advanced Education for the Province of British Columbia, spoke to those gathered about the importance of investing in capital projects that will enhance learning and help students gain the skills to build the economy.
“I’m currently enrolled in the Electrical Foundation Program,” student David Collier told the crowd. “I’m happy to see the college undergoing these renovations and I’m extremely excited to come back for my second, third and fourth years to see all the improvements that will be made.”
Those in attendance had the opportunity to get a look at the plans for the shop space refresh and the renderings of the new student commons space.
The federal government’s investment fits with its goals to enhance and modernize facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.
“Through the Strategic Investment fund, the Government of Canada is helping to enhance the country’s post-secondary infrastucture, including at our technical institutes and colleges,” said Bains. “This investment in the Silver King Campus renewal project at Selkirk College will help to create improved learning space for students of the trades and related technical training. This will mean continued success for students and will ensure Selkirk College is best equipped for the future.”
In the Welding Program shop, student Grace Ranieri was pleased to see the federal and provincial governments investing in trades programs.
“I have been a proud Selkirk College student since 2012 working on my Red Seal in welding,” said Ranieri. “Though I will complete my formal education before the refresh is complete, members of my family are planning on attending trades programs at the Silver King Campus in the coming years and I’m excited that they will have the opportunity to train in modern shop spaces.”