Parkland College marked the official Grand Opening of the Trades and Technology Centre in Yorkton on Wednesday. The College celebrated this historic milestone with hundreds of donors, supporters, special guests, staff, students, and members of the community.
The crowd gathered inside the large multi-use Trades Shop to hear remarks from dignitaries including Advanced Education Minister Scott Moe, Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit, Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney, and Linda Turta, co-chair of the College’s Capital Campaign Cabinet.
“This new centre is the result of visionary leadership and support in Yorkton and the surrounding area,” said Minister Moe. “It demonstrates the great things we can achieve when we work together.”
PotashCorp gave the fundraising effort an early boost in June 2012 with a $1.225 million matching gift campaign. Then in October 2013, the Government of Saskatchewan committed $10 million to the planning and construction of the Trades and Technology Centre. A month later, The Mosaic Company followed with a $1.225 million contribution of its own.
Overall, dozens of key donors from business and industry and the local community contributed to the College’s capital campaign – the first ever by a regional college in Saskatchewan.
“Our fundraising campaign was based on the belief that colleges build communities and communities build colleges,” said Parkland College President Dwayne Reeve. “As we opened up this tremendous building, we wanted to make sure that the people who made this project a reality were here to celebrate with us.”
To officially open the facility, the College put a unique twist on the traditional ribbon cutting ceremony. In the days leading up to the event, instructors and students worked in the Trades Shop to produce a 32-foot strip of thin metal. Donors were then invited to hold this “ribbon” as Minister Moe used a metal shear to slice the strip in two.
There were also tours of the 29,000-square-foot building, a cake cutting, and a charity barbecue by MR MIKES Steakhouse Casual and Yorkton Co-op. The barbecue raised more than $1,400 for the College’s student scholarship fund.
Nearly a decade ago, the College’s Board of Governors recognized the need for skilled workers in the Parkland region. The Trades and Technology Centre was the answer, providing skilled training space and opportunities that did not exist within the region. It was a five-year journey from concept to finished product.
“Parkland College is committed to helping our region and our province prosper. It all starts with education – providing the best learning experience and the most relevant training,” said Board Chairperson Lydia Cyr. “And today, we see the Trades and Technology Centre as the newest vessel for delivering that training.”
The first year of programs at the new facility started last month. Students are enrolled in Power Engineering, Agricultural Machinery Technician, Heavy Equipment/Truck and Transport Technician, Multi-Mechanical Trades, and Welding programs. They have 10,000 square feet of work space to use in the building’s Trades Shop. There is also a state-of-the-art Power Engineering lab, Welding/Fabrication Shop with 12 welding stations, and six flexible classrooms.
Visitors to the new campus see a large Donor Wall as they enter the spacious rotunda, commemorating the many contributions that helped the project succeed. The large, elegant plaque is inscribed with the words: “This facility was made possible by the generous contributions of our distinguished donors.”
“It stands as a testament to the generosity that abounds in our community and our province, from the Government of Saskatchewan and City of Yorkton, to large corporations, independent businesses, and community-focused groups and individuals,” Cyr said.
“This Donor Wall is just one of many walls in this building. But without it, the Trades and Technology Centre could not stand.”
About Parkland College:
Since its inception in 1973, Parkland College has worked to expand the philosophy of life-long learning in East Central Saskatchewan. Among the seven basic principles upon which the community college system was founded is the idea that programs are to be developed in response to the needs of the community. Today, Parkland College offers a broad spectrum of educational services from trades training and high school upgrading to the province’s most diverse off-campus university offerings.
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