College campus construction ready to begin

The conceptual drawing of the new Northern Lakes College consolidated campus in High Prairie shows the main entrance, designed by Manasc Isaac Architects. Clark Builders will construct the building.

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Construction of the new Northern Lakes College consolidated campus in High Prairie is set to start in days.

“We expect construction will start in mid-May,” says board chair Daniel Vander- meulen, of High Prairie.

Clark Builders, of Edmonton, was awarded the contract by the NLC board, he says.

Crews will start the groundwork and place pilings first.

“The framework of the building will start in the summer,” Vandermeu- len says.

“We should be finished the project and ready to open in September 2021.”

The college and the community are excited to see the project proceed.

“It’s great to get it going,” Vandermeulen says.

“We’ve been working on the project for years and it will be great to see some real activity.”

Under the project and government funding of more than $21 million, the college will combine its health services site downtown, academic campus and the trades training center at Tolko OSB plant west of town into one consolidated campus.

College leadership is excited about the project.

“Consolidation of our three learning spaces will reduce the overall campus environmental footprint and energy consumption,” Vander- meulen says.

The project is expected to create about 300 construction jobs and generate nearly $47 million for the local economy, according to college information.

Funding of $21.6 million for a new consolidated campus was announced in 2017.

Plans for the 33,000-square-foot, two-storey building will welcome the first culinary arts program in the college and include three trades labs for carpentry, mechanics and welding and metalwork.

One of the key new features is it will have open or exposed walls for electrical and geothermal components in some areas, so it will be a teaching tool for students.

Natural wood décor, plenty of natural light, open space and room to grow will also be incorporated into the building.

The building will be handicapped accessible and also include special attention to female students and First Nations communities. Common areas for students to collaborate is also included.

NLC president Ann Everatt says the new facility will include 33 individual learning suites, 12 classrooms and a health programs lab with space to accommodate up to eight beds.

A conceptual drawing shows a student common area that will feature plenty of Alberta wood.

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