Red Deer College will see two green projects take shape with the announcement of shared-funding between RDC and the federal government.
Officials said the funding will also help students land new training opportunities in the alternative energy sector and cut the campus’s environmental footprint.
RDC will receive more than $4.8 million for the two projects under the government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. Total funding will top $9.5 million with contributions from RDC as well.
First off, RDC will provide training and research opportunities focused on alternative energy production processes through the Alternative Energy Innovation Lab Project.
Students will receive instruction that will help them contribute to a diversified, green economy and promote long-term economic growth in the alternative energy sector.
This will enhance RDC’s Trades and Technologies labs to accommodate more learning spaces, improve the ventilation in the Centre for Innovation in Manufacturing and create a Makerspace with a section dedicated to innovation around micro-grid solutions.
Also, additional upgrades to the campus through the Green Energy Master Plan will reduce carbon emissions by 20% over the next five years.
“This project will allow for the installation of new and alternative energy sources and strategies such as combined heat and wind power, solar, geothermal systems and conventional energy management,” said Randy Boissonnault, parliamentary secretary to the minister of Canadian Heritage.
The projects are also expected to generate more than $7 million of direct economic activity for the provincial economy over the next two years, officials say.
“This funding will provide tremendous opportunities for Red Deer College, as it will allow us to proceed with our Green Energy Master Plan and our Alternative Energy Innovation Labs Infrastructure,” said RDC President Joel Ward.
“As we consider how to build our alternative energy systems and lab space, we are maximizing the investment to the benefit of student learning and applied research. Our goal is to integrate these so that students and industry have the ability to learn from live working systems as well as from lab space,” said Ward. ”We are a community on the move.
“When the government of Canada announced $2 billion in infrastructure investment in post-secondary (institutions) across Canada, there was a collective cheer from my colleagues across the country. And RDC was ready to support the direction of this investment relating to carbon reduction and environmentally sustainable practices.
“So here we are today to make this announcement – the two projects are approved and ready to go.”
Marlin Schmidt, minister of advanced education, added that, “These key infrastructure investments ensure Albertans get hands-on-training in state-of-the-art facilities, while addressing the need to create jobs and diversify our economy.
“Investing in post-secondary capital projects will help create modern learning environments and will help students to put their best foot forward,” he said. “Simply put, these investment are more than just investments in brick and mortar. They are investments in Alberta’s and Canada’s future,” he added.
“The turn-out today really shows how important Red Deer College is to the community as well.”
The Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund is a time-limited program that will provide up to $2 billion over the next two years to accelerate infrastructure projects at universities and colleges across Canada.
“Every time I drive by on the highway or stop, I see growth here. I see growth at Red Deer College and I see growth in the community,” said Boissonnault. “I love the fact that you are continuing to be visionaries and planners not just for today but also for tomorrow.”