Provincial government kicks in $18.9 million investment into new training facilities at Selkirk College
The machine shop at Selkirk’s Silver King campus was packed today as the board announced an $18.9 million investment into new training facilities.
Selkirk College president Angus Graeme was grinning ear to ear as he took to the podium and addressed the buzzing crowd of students, teachers and board members.
“We don’t normally do things like this where we bring the students together with local media, and instructors and staff but today is a really, really important announcement for us and we’re just so thrilled to have everybody here to announce what is, in my mind, one of the next big steps that Selkirk College is going to take for the future,” Graeme said.
“Today we’re announcing an 18.9 million dollar investment in this campus and in trades training in BC, and it’s just a really exciting day for Selkirk College and I really appreciate all the students being with us,” he added.
The province will be funding a $14.2 million investment and is working in conjunction with Selkirk College, Columbia Power and Teck’s Trail division to bring that number up to $18.9 million for the new facilities.
Three existing buildings will be renewed and repurposed, and the old cafeteria and an administration building will be demolished and replaced with a brand new building that will house a multi-purpose open study area, an aboriginal gathering place and a new cafeteria.
The renovations are set to begin in spring of 2016 and are aiming to be completed by fall of 2017. The project is expected to generate up to 140 jobs.
Over the last two years, $442,000 for 90 trade seats and $402,000 for new equipment has been invested into the Silver King campus thanks to the B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint.
“Today marks an important milestone in trades training in the Western Kootenay Region and our great province,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Minister of Advanced Education in a letter read by board chair Sharel Wallace.
“New trades training facilities at the Silver King Campus at Selkirk College will support students who are pursuing in demand careers in a range of sectors such as LNG, construction, oil and gas and forestry.”
This injection of new equipment and infrastructure is much needed by the Silver King Campus. Originally built in 1964, Graeme emphasized that this new project will ensure the facilities will be able to accommodate and produce skilled workers for another fifty years.
“This facility has never stopped since 1964, through thick and thin it has been producing skilled and educated people for the workforce in this province and throughout the world and it’s so exciting for us to be looking ahead at the next 50 years,” Graeme said.
Students and instructors alike were visibly thrilled by this announcement. Dan Brazeau is a carpentry instructor at Silver King, and he explained to The Nelson Daily why he was so pleased with the upcoming renovations.
“This is great because we really need some new infrastructure around here. It’s especially important for me because I’m one of the few people around here not retiring in five years so I stand to gain from it for a long time, and of course that translates down to the students,” Brazeau said.
“We need newer, more modern space so I’m really looking forward to it.”