For a second successive day, TRU officials had plenty to smile about, confirming federal funding as the final piece in a $30-million investment in a new Industrial Training and Technology Centre.
The driving force behind the expansion is a renaissance of interest in trades training in just the last five years, said TRU President Alan Shaver.
“It will not only change the landscape of TRU physically, but it will increase the training by 550 new seats,” Shaver said as a couple hundred trades students gathered for the news.
That will bring the trades training capacity in Kamloops to 2,050 full-time equivalent seats.
Federal funds amounting to $13.25 million is combined with $7 million from the province, $7.7 million from the university and $9.7 million from Western Economic Diversification.
The funds enable TRU to build a new 5,344-square-metre centre that will allow the university to expand its trades and technology programs into areas such as refrigeration, air conditioning and power engineering. It will also allow the school to expand its Red Seal program.The funding will also go toward the renovation of space in the existing School of Trades and Technology building.
Construction is expected to get underway in early 2017 with substantial completion by spring 2018 and occupancy in the fall of 2018.
“We are No. 1 in the country in economic growth, which means we are No. 1 in the country in job creation,” said MLA Todd Stone while announcing the project. “We have to make sure the training and education are there for individuals to take the jobs and seize the opportunity.”
On Monday, the TRU Community Trust announced that the first phase of its university village development, which promises to serve as a catalyst for additional growth, is proceeding to market with a request for proposals
Kevin Kneale, a first-year student in the instrumentation foundation program, got up to talk about what the expansion means to him. With the availability of third- and fourth-year journeyman training, he can stay in Kamloops to continue his education with a view to progressing into instrumentation engineering, he said.
“All in all, this is a big step for trades training at TRU and I’m excited to be part of it,” he said.
The new centre will be built behind the School of Trades and Technology Building with minimal disruption to other campus activities, Shaver said.
Renovated space in the existing building will be used by the architectural and engineering technology program, which will allow the program to expand to offer a fourth year and will have dedicated labs, classrooms and faculty offices within the current trades building.
Construction of the new centre is expected to generate 108 direct and 82 indirect jobs in the region.