_ (press release) _ Ottawa — Algonquin College marked one of its most important announcements today with a groundbreaking ceremony for its new Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Centre and Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship — a state-of-the-art facility scheduled to open in 2018.
President Cheryl Jensen was joined by Anita Vandenbeld, Member of Parliament for Ottawa West-Nepean, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and the Honourable Bob Chiarelli for the ceremony.
Jensen gave special thanks to Vandenbeld and Chiarelli for “their stalwart support.”
The new $44.9 million Algonquin College Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Learning Centre and Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship was made possible in large part thanks to a $21.9 million grant from the Federal Government through the Strategic Investment Fund for Post-secondary Education Institutions and $2.9 million from the Province of Ontario.
Jensen said that the College has always been a champion of innovation, and today’s announcement made that clear.
“We have enjoyed so many ‘firsts’ here at Algonquin, but today is arguably the most important ‘first’ of all,” she said. “It is the day when we are claiming our future and sending the strongest signal possible about our identity as a college. Is a day when we proudly say, ‘This is who we are.’ ”
The project, which will take approximately two years to complete, will feature facilities for testing and development, simulations, competitions, collaborative project development, as well as entrepreneurial support in the growing field of cyber security. The Institute for Indigenous Entrepreneurship will be the first of its kind on a college campus in Ontario and will be designed in consultation with indigenous communities and be based on indigenous business principles.
“When indigenous learners arrive at Algonquin College, they will find a place that echoes their heritage, providing the kind of foundation they need to succeed,” said Jensen. “And these learners will take that success, and the confidence that comes with it, to their homes and communities.”
“I have experienced firsthand Algonquin College’s impact in our community as an educator and bridge builder. With this investment we are ensuring Algonquin College will continue to provide a world-class education,” said Vandenbeld, who made the joint federal-provincial announcement to a capacity crowd in the College’s library, the site of the renovation. “Transforming the library into this modern, collaborative learning facility will provide access to the tools and technologies our students and community need to experiment, to create, and to innovate.”
Minister Chiarelli said the provincial government was “proud to support” the project.
“We know that providing access to high-quality education and training facilities is critical to building the highly-skilled workforce we need to support good jobs and economic growth,” said Chiarelli.