Wider Horizons

Amid a flurry of sparks as an acetylene torch burned through a specially-fashioned metal ribbon, Lethbridge College’s new Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility officially opened with an on-campus celebration on Sept. 27.

The new facility completes the largest construction project in the college’s history, a three-and-a-half year endeavor that has created the largest trades training facility south of Calgary. The completed building, which includes the first phase that opened in September 2015, measures 168,812 square feet, cost $70.7 million and provides state-of-the-art training opportunities for students in a variety of skilled trades and technologies programming.

“The grand opening was the culmination of a lot of planning, foresight and effort by many groups to fill a need in southern Alberta that will positively affect our college and the local economy for generations to come,” says Dr. Paula Burns, Lethbridge College President and CEO. “The building itself is beautiful and has already become a showcase piece on campus, but the practical applications and technological benefits that it will provide to students is the most exciting part of this project.”

“I am sure that this building and the learning happening here will help the college achieve a higher recognition within the world of post-secondary education, not only in Alberta, but also throughout Canada. This facility is the future, and it supports the foundational growth not only of the college but also the city of Lethbridge. ”

{ Arthur Torres, president, Lethbridge College Students’ Association }

The college broke ground in October 2015 on the second phase of the facility, which houses students in the Wind Turbine Technician, Electrician Apprenticeship Training, Welder Apprenticeship Training, Plumber Apprenticeship Training, Engineering Design and Drafting Technology, and Interior Design Technology programs.

The first students moved into the facility in late August after a concerted effort by Lethbridge College’s Facilities Management department, college faculty and staff, and construction management company Stuart Olson to complete the project on time and on budget.

Financing for the project came from the Province of Alberta, internal college funding and contributions from the Possibilities are Endless campaign, which raised $27.8 million for college projects, including the new Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility.

“We are so thankful for the many partners who contributed to this facility through our very successful capital campaign,” says Burns. “You’ll notice that many of the classrooms, labs and workshops carry the names of our partners. This is not only a thank you to them for their donations, but also a commitment to continue to build on those partnerships to create opportunities for our students that will positively benefit all of us.”

“With its focus on cutting-edge technology and applied research, the new Trades, Technologies and Innovation Facility not only fits the needs of the students of today but also the evolving needs of the future.”

{ Maria Fitzpatrick, Lethbridge East MLA, Government of Alberta }

The building is on pace to receive a high LEED certification for its environmentally-friendly construction. Diamond Schmitt Architects, in association with Sahuri + Partners, designed the facility and Stuart Olson oversaw the construction. Scores of Lethbridge College alumni worked for these companies as well as the dozens of local contractors and trades involved with the project since its ground-breaking in April 2014. The event concluded with the unveiling of a collaborative piece of art that captures the proud history and inspiring future of trades and technologies training at Lethbridge College. Titled Creators, Educators, Innovators, the sculpture was created by a talented group of college employees and partners who designed, shaped, fabricated and installed this piece as a way of celebrating the official opening.

Facts and figures

Construction on the entire project ran from April 2014 to August 2017

  • Phase one groundbreaking was in April 2014 and it opened in September 2015
  • Phase two groundbreaking was in October 2015 and it opened in September 2017

The total construction cost was $70.7 million

Construction used 30.56 per cent of regional materials

  • Construction used 21.64 per cent of recycled materials
  • Over 80 per cent of construction waste was diverted from the landfill

The facility prioritizes space for student learning:

  • 72 per cent of the square footage is dedicated to shops, labs and related support
  • 14 per cent of the square footage is dedicated to lecture, classroom and seminar space

The facility houses students from 10 programs:

  • Phase one includes programs within the Crooks School of Transportation, including the Automotive Service Technician, Parts Technician, and Agricultural and Heavy Equipment Technician programs
  • Phase two houses the Wind Turbine Technician, Electrician Apprenticeship Training, Welder Apprenticeship Training, Engineering Design and Drafting Technology, and Interior Design Technology programs, along with classroom space for the Plumber Apprenticeship Training program.
Wider Horizons
Story by Lisa Kozleski / Photos by Rob Olson
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