This week, Red Deer College Students’ Association president Maryanne McGrath was excited to officially announce the students’ contribution of $500,000 towards the new Gary W. Harris Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport.
McGrath, along with various dignitaries of the community, previous Students’ Association (SA) members and RDC faculty celebrated the donation and recognized the long-time dedication of students to building the future of RDC.
“Today is a very exciting day in the 50 year history of the Students’ Association. We are celebrating two things – the students’ commitment and contribution to the College’s future, as well as the College’s appreciation for our donation,” McGrath said.
The contributions will be put towards the construction of the new sports, wellness and health facility being built at the College. Officials said this facility will be crucial for the City to host the 2019 Canada Winter Games and is an iconic addition to the RDC campus.
Included in this new centre will be a dedicated facility for the Students’ Association council chambers. Red Deer College will be the first college in Alberta to provide such a space for their students’ association. McGrath explained this is common in polytechnic schools and universities, but is unseen in the colleges in the province.
“We’re receiving new council chambers and a meeting space for student groups, with storage spaces for those student groups. It’ll be a very collaborative space that students can access at any time they’d like,” she said.
“I think it’ll really foster more involvement in student leadership because students would potentially start leading more groups when they know they have a space to do so. It’ll be a permanent home for our student groups.”
She thanked the previous SA members who had dedicated their vision towards the project and was humbled by the chance to take part in the donation.
“This isn’t a legacy of my own – it’s a legacy of the Students’ Association and leaders of the past,” she said.
The SA began investing a portion of their student fees into the existing Building Trust Fund in 2001. This investment was made in order to secure the future of the College’s growth and was last accessed in 2000 for funding towards the renovation of the Farside Bar and Grill on campus, as well as the current SA offices.
“This donation is an excellent opportunity to reflect that vision and to support an important initiative that will directly benefit current and future RDC students,” McGrath said.
She said she was very thankful for the school’s announcement of the new SA council chambers and work space. RDC President Joel Ward was also pleased with the announcement, saying it serves as a recognition of the valuable relationship between students and faculty at RDC.
“The Students’ Association has shared a priority in promoting opportunities for our learners throughout their time here at RDC. We are thrilled to see this level of commitment that demonstrates just how important the Harris Centre will be for our learners,” he said.
The Centre for Health, Wellness and Sport is expected to be completed in 2018, with the facility being utilized that fall for student use, and then the following year during the 2019 Canada Winter Games.