City council received a report from Red Deer College President Joel Ward regarding a request for $2 million in funding during Monday night’s council.
Ward said RDC is looking to undertake many significant facility, technical and program enhancements and that is the reason behind the funding request at this time.
“As we make our own significant financial commitment toward renewal and enhancement, we also seek a reinvestment by the City of Red Deer in these community assets,” said Ward.
In the next two years Ward said there are many things to be celebrated including the 25th anniversary of the Arts Centre, the 50th anniversary of the College itself, as well as the 100th anniversary of the City.
“Our proposal is not only to commemorate three milestones but also to make an investment that supports a natural evolution of a valuable community asset that benefits all Red Deerians and residents of Central Alberta.”
In its 50 years in Red Deer, the College Arts Centre has hosted approximately one million people for an abundance of different events. Ward said more than of 125,000 people take part in learning, cultural, sport or other activities at the College every year.
The milestone projects proposed are expected to cost anywhere from $10-15 million. Ward explained the $2 million request from the City would go towards some vital projects.
“Over the next while Red Deer College plans to initiate several key projects including the Arts Centre technical expansion, growth at the Donald School of Business, programming and space improvements in the Library Information Common and enhancements to the City Centre Stage.”
Ward said the College is especially excited to see the numbers as the Donald School of Business continues to grow and that the funding would help expand the Red Deer College footprint downtown.
“So we say why not now? We think now would be great to honour and commemorate significant milestones for all of us, to advance the Arts Centre beyond its current history, and to build a future legacy for Red Deer College.”
The City of Red Deer has made past investments to the College including $1 million to both the Arts Centre and to the Library Information Common.
The Library Information Common provides Red Deerians with a unique opportunity to access academic learning materials without needing a special membership. People just need a Red Deer library card in order to access the facility.
Ward said that fact alone makes the library a popular and well-used feature as well as a great investment because it benefits residents and not just students of the College.
“Red Deer College is integral in helping Red Deer and Central Alberta communities offer a competitive advantage for growth and development.”
Ward said the RDC service area receives $40.1 million in regional income annually through College operations and the contribution of RDC skills in the workforce increases regional income by $214.5 million.
Ward believes that if the City were to invest it would prompt the provincial government to take note and potentially contribute some money as well.
Ward also said that they will be looking for other partners for some of the projects.
City council voted to accept the presentation for information and will evaluate the possibility of the investment at their mid-year budget review on Aug. 20.