Province announces new college campus for High Prairie

Richard Froese
For the Lakeside Leader

Funding of $21.6 million for a new consolidated campus in High Prairie for Northern Lakes College has been announced. Alberta’s Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt passed on the good news at a Mar. 27 ceremony in High Prairie.
It is big news for High Prairie and the college.
“We are delighted that the Government of Alberta has supported this investment,” NLC president Ann Everatt said at the event. “This new facility will support new generations of learners and enable the college to enhance access to a wider variety of programs and services in High Prairie for our post-secondary and dual-credit students.”
Schmidt’s announcement includes $882,000 for planning over the next two years and $20.6 million to construct the campus – expected to start in 2019 and finish in 2021.
“Investing in modern and efficient infrastructure is vital to the long-term success of Alberta’s students and our province,” Schmidt said.
The new facility – for which a site has not been chosen – will allow the college to consolidate three programs which are now in separate locations in High Prairie. The health services site is downtown, the academic campus is on the east side and the trades training centre is at the (idle) Tolko mill west of town.
College board chair Dan Vandermeulen looks forward to good things from the new campus, especially for the dual-credit program.
“Co-location and the dual credit program will allow young people in High Prairie to begin their career preparation while still in high school,” he said. “This is a win for the whole community.”
Ideally, Vandermeulen added, the site would be attached to a high school or within walking distance.
The announcement secures the future of the college in High Prairie, after 10 years of discussions about such plans. The new, centralized facility will accommodate 250 students, address future growth, meet employment demands in the region and increase campus energy efficiency.
“This investment not only supports our post-secondary institution,” said Lesser Slave Lake MLA Danielle Larivee, “but invests in the quality of life and continued success of our community. Thank you, High Prairie, for your advocacy to make this happen.”
Representatives of the Town of High Prairie, County of Big Lakes, High Prairie School Division and Holy Family Catholic Regional School Division were also present to hear the announcement. Also expressing words of thanks were student Shelley Gauchier and Terri Rosser, who chairs the local NLC Community Education Committee. She also runs the High Prairie Community Adult Learning Program.
Planning, consolidation and construction of the college project is anticipated to generate about $46.3 million for Alberta’s economy and employ more than 276 people.
Conceptual drawings have been prepared as a foundation for the project.

Big news for High Prairie
Pictured left to right at the Mar. 27 announcement are NLC board chair Dan Vandermeulen, Lesser Slave MLA Danielle Larivee, Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt, NLC President Ann Everatt, HPCEC Chair Terri Rosser and NLC student Shelley Gauchier.

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