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Construction begins on new Innovation Centre downtown

July 20, 2018

With funding now in place, Red River College is moving forward this week with construction of its new $95-million Innovation Centre, plans for which had to be put on hold while financial arrangements were sorted out earlier this year.

College President Paul Vogt received confirmation from the government recently that the $40.6 million in funding required for the project is now secure, and the College can begin issuing tenders so that construction can get underway.

On Wednesday, stakeholders gathered at site of the new Centre — at 319 Elgin Ave., right across the street from RRC’s Roblin Centre — to learn more about how the College’s latest expansion plan will help transform the Exchange District.

“For those of you who have been following this project closely, and have been wondering if we are still moving forward, let me be the first to say ‘yes,’ we are very proud to be starting construction,” Vogt said Wednesday.

“Nothing gets built without a vision. And right now it excites me to visualize that in a few short years we’re going to be able to look across the street from here and see a hub for creative innovation.”

Construction of the new Centre is slated to be complete by the fall of 2020. Once open, it will serve as the home of RRC’s business and information technology programs, as well as its Language Training Centre, ACE (Applied Computer Education) Project Space, and Research Partnerships & Innovation office.

The Centre will create an atmosphere of discovery and development, focusing on applied research, entrepreneurship and social innovation, and will help propel the College’s strategic plan — not just to prepare students for the workforce, but to change the way it designs and delivers post-secondary education.

“The way our courses will be structured at the Innovation Centre will change the way students learn in Manitoba, focusing on the kind of collaboration that is required in day-to-day life after graduation” said Vogt.

“It will help us focus on teaching the power skills needed not just for our grads to get a good job, but to become leaders in their chosen fields.”

Among those who attended Wednesday’s site tour were Mayor Brian Bowman, Education Minister Ian Wishart and Doug Hanna, of Number TEN Architectural Group and Diamond Schmitt Architects.

“Red River College is a forward-thinking institution that recognizes the important role that innovation and industry partnerships play in creating the best opportunities for today’s workforce,” Hanna told Canadian Architect magazine. “This facility embodies those noble ambitions.”