Paul Kingsmith

news-archive-lafarge-donation-2013.jpgLethbridge College announced a $50,000 gift today from the southern Alberta region of Lafarge Canada Inc. The gift will support the college’s Trades and Technology Renewal and Innovation Project (TTRIP) through the establishment of the Lafarge Group Meeting Room within the new trades and technology facility.

“This donation will provide support to the School of Engineering Technologies as well as students in the Interior Design program and our whole trades program,” says Dr. Sandy Vanderburgh, the college’s dean of the Centre for Applied Arts and Sciences. “All of these students will be working and learning under the same roof, providing an example of collaboration that they will experience again once they are established in their work. That kind of teamwork will be instrumental as they move forward in their careers.”

Globally, Lafarge is the largest producer of cement, second largest producer of aggregates and fourth largest producer of concrete with 1,570 production sites and 65,000 employees in 64 countries. Committed to innovation, Lafarge created the world's first research centre for building materials. Locally, Lafarge has been providing the southern Alberta region with quality products for over 50 years from its locations in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Brooks and employs up to 75 people.

“Lethbridge College and Lafarge have been working together for many years,” says southern Alberta General Manager Mike Schmidtler. “We wanted to show our support of TTRIP and specifically the way it uses shared training spaces and common areas for engineering, trades and interior design students. These fields have so much in common – it’s great to see the college facilitating these synergies.”

Lafarge sees the donation as a way to let current students – and perhaps future employees – know that it values their education in a quickly-changing professional environment.  Moreover, Lafarge and the college share many of the same goals. “Our company works to build better cities around the world through our innovative solutions, and we value sustainability,” says Schmidtler. “The college, through its plans for the new trades facility, will not only help to meet the growing need for well-trained people in the construction industry, but it also clearly prioritizes innovation and environmental stewardship.”

Lafarge is actively involved with Lethbridge College’s School of Engineering Technologies and a member of the college’s Civil Engineering advisory board, which makes recommendations on how to best support learning for students. Lafarge supports this with student field trips to its local facilities, including its production plants and its biodiversity project at the Hudson gravel pit, which won a worldwide award with the Wildlife Habitat Council. “We are also exploring opportunities for applied research with the college,” says Schmidtler. “This innovative space will provide a great opportunity to expose students and the larger community to some of our new and innovative products.”

The company has been a generous supporter of other college fundraising initiatives in the past, including the Making Dreams Real Campaign in 2000, which created the Lafarge North American Fund; an endowment supporting awards directed at Civil Engineering Students who have financial need; the Adopt-a-Kodiak program; and the annual golf tournament. In addition, Lafarge is participating in the College Home: Building Futures Together project, a unique collaboration launched earlier this year between the Canadian Homebuilders Association Lethbridge Region and Lethbridge College.