STELLARTON – The atmosphere was electric before and during the confirmation of an expansion for the Nova Scotia Community College’s Pictou campus.
Hundreds of dignitaries, students and staff were among those who filled the campus’s atrium for the $15.2 million in joint federal and provincial funding announced by Central Nova MP Sean Fraser and Labour and Advanced Education Minister Kelly Regan to help build a trades innovation centre behind the existing campus.
“With this addition comes enormous responsibility,” said campus principal Dave Freckelton, who emceed the event.
“These types of investments are game-changers,” said NSCC president Don Bureaux, who joined Fraser, Regan and fellow provincial cabinet minister and Pictou campus carpentry student Jacob Prest at the front of the gathering for the event.
Prest, who is from Mooseland, N.S. and lives in Truro, said he will have graduated well before the centre will be completed but is glad for those who will be able to attend.
“I won’t be a (student), but I will be here for a big part of building it, so that’s great,” he said.
Prest said he was a high school graduate seven years ago and decided four years ago to abandon his studies at Dalhousie University’s Agriculture campus in Bible Hill to pursue carpentry at NSCC.
“I never imagined I could enjoy going to school as much as I do here,” he said.
The centre is receiving $6.9 million from the federal Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund and the remaining $8.3 million from the province’s Department of Science and Economic Development.
“This is an example of government creating opportunities for young Nova Scotians,” Regan said. “A new educational trades innovation centre at the Pictou Campus will give students a modern shop space where they can learn their trades and become part of a highly qualified, specialized workforce, ready to discover and take advantage of the great opportunities here in Nova Scotia.”
Fraser described it as a separate, purpose-built, educational trades building that provide the specialized training infrastructure required to meet industry demand and will accommodate carpentry, cabinetry, motor vehicle repair and heavy duty equipment. It will be environmentally efficient, certified to LEED Gold standards.
“These infrastructure investments will create good, well-paying jobs that can help the middle class grow and prosper today, while also delivering sustained economic growth for years to come,” Fraser said. “Through the Strategic Investment Fund, we are strengthening the foundation for building Canada into a global centre for innovation.”
“We see this space as fluid and flexible,” Freckelton added.
Campus student association president Michaela Pellerine said the expansion will benefit the school and the community.
“It will be so great for the students but for the community it will be huge,” she said.
Moving the trades from their existing places in the school to the new building will free up more space overall, she said.
“We don’t have a student lounge so there will be a big space for the students,” she said. “There’s just nowhere but up from here.”
The atrium setting was instructional. It was part of the last major investment of $12.7 million in the campus under former Premier John Hamm, who attended the event.
“This is a great announcement for our county and kudos to Dave and his staff,” he said. “I couldn’t be happier.”
Pictou Centre MLA Pat also lauded the announcement.
“It’s wonderful news,” he said. “It will create jobs immediately and allow students to achieve the skill sets they require.”
From left: provincial cabinet ministers Randy Delorey and Kelly Regan stand with Central Nova MP Sean Fraser, NSCC president Don Bureaux and Pictou campus carpentry student Jacob Prest with campus principal Dave Freckelton pointing to the conceptual photo of the new innovation centre that will be built on the campus. (Goodwin photo)