CONSTRUCTION BEGINS - Officials with the provincial government and Red Deer College dig the first holes for the new student residence. Erin Fawcett/Red Deer Express

New student residence to be constructed at Red Deer College

The $19 million project is expected to be complete in time for the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Student at Red Deer College are getting some new digs.

Officials from Red Deer College, the provincial government as well as the City and neighbouring communities gathered on Thursday for the announcement of a new residence which will include 145 studio suites.

The College currently has 500 beds in residence which are all occupied.

The new building will also house six accessible suites as well as collaboration and gathering spaces.

The cost of the project is $19 million, with a $16 million loan coming from the provincial government, to assist with financing of the project.

The ground was broken today and the residence building is expected to completed in time for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

Red Deer College leaders, faculty, staff and guests joined Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, for today’s special announcement detailing the College’s new Residence building.

“The ability to grow the Red Deer College campus will address the current and future needs of students, support the community and create good construction jobs for Albertans.

“We are working to make life more affordable for our students and ensure as many Albertans as possible can access post-secondary education,” said Schmidt.

The new residence, composed of 145 studio suites, is targeted to be complete by early 2019.

From Feb. 15th to March 3rd, 2019, the building will house athletes who are in Central Alberta for the 2019 Canada Winter Games.

After the Games, RDC students who have short-term educational needs, including apprenticeship students, will have the opportunity to move in for the remainder of the academic year.

In the fall of 2019, students will move into the facility. Throughout its yearly cycle, the residence will be utilized by students, as well as adult and youth learners attending RDC’s Series Summer Arts School and summer camps, and individuals and groups on campus for training and other purposes.

“This new residence will have a positive impact on our students,” said Marian Young, vice president – operations of the Students’ Association of Red Deer College.

“The ability to live in a studio suite will appeal to many students who wish to remain on campus. Additional on-campus housing has long been needed at RDC.”

She added the residence is very much needed as in her first year at the College, she was on a wait list of 600 people.

The College has had the vision for the new residence for the last five years.

In anticipation of approval and to be ready for the Games, RDC has been working with an integrated project delivery team since October 2016 to design and plan the building.

“A great number of people have been dedicated to the success of this project, as we all recognize how important it will be for RDC’s future and for our learners,” said Joel Ward, president and CEO of the College.

“We have designed a residence that is unique and innovative, and it will serve the needs of our College for decades to come.

“We are looking for a mix of residences here from the traditional tower residence and dorm residences that we have on campus to our family residence and now this is the last piece of residence that we need to make sure we can meet all the demands.”

With the new residence building, the team has incorporated sustainable and energy efficient technologies through the use of vertically installed, electricity-generating solar panels that will cover three sides of the building.

By utilizing this technology, the new residence is another component of RDC’s Alternative Energy Initiative, which promotes environmental stewardship.

In addition to reducing RDC’s carbon footprint and decreasing utility costs, the unique installation of panels will allow students to learn about solar generation, as data from the new residence building will be gathered and assessed by learners in the Alternative Energy Lab.

“We’re taking important steps forward in the future of our College, and we’re considering our students and communities, as well as programs, facilities and stewardship – all of the essential components that position our institution for success,” said Ward.

“The new residence is another part of this, and we are very proud to create a building that students can learn in and learn from as they enjoy college life. The building will be beautiful and functional, and it will position RDC as one of the leaders across Canada when it comes to integrating solar panels into the design and cladding of a residence facility.”

Meanwhile, Lyn Radford, chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games committee said this announcement is crucial to the success of the Games.

“It is huge. Because of the delay of the announcement we were getting rather worried and we were having to start looking at Plan B. I’m thrilled to say we don’t need Plan B now,” she said.

efawcett@reddeerexpress.com

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