Two years ago, a $15 million trades and technology educational centre for the Parkland region was a grand idea aimed at alleviating some of the skilled labour shortage projected to grip southeast Saskatchewan for the foreseeable future.
The provincial government was onside and a Capital Campaign Cabinet comprising influential business and community leaders was formed.
In June 2012, PotashCorp pledged to donate up to $1.225 million in a dollar-for-dollar matching gift challenge to community and industry contributors. The race was on to raise the college’s $4.9 million share required to build the state-of-the-art facility.
The community came through, matching PotashCorp’s commitment by the deadline of March 2013.
The City of Yorkton stepped up in September 2012 selling the college for one dollar a 20-acre parcel of land bordered by York Road, Dracup Avenue and Highway 9 valued at $3.48 million.
With its 2013-14 budget in the spring of 2013, the Province announced $1 million for planning. The college enlisted the Regina firm A&K Architects to design the centre.
In October, Premier Brad Wall committed to its full $10 million share for construction and, in November, Mosaic effectively capped off the local capital campaign with a $1.225 million cheque to the college.
Last week, Parkland College knocked off the final milestone before shovels hit the ground with the announcement of local contractor Logan Stevens Construction as the builder.
“We are delighted to be awarded this contract,” said Doug Kitsch, Logan Stevens president. “We look forward to working closely with Parkland College and A+K Architects to help them meet their goals for the Trades and Technology Centre.”
The college selected Logan Stevens from nine competitive bids received by A+K.
“It is great to see so much interest in building this facility,” said Dr. Fay Myers, president of the college. “We are eager to partner with Logan Stevens Construction, a local company with a strong reputation.”
Both A+K and Logan Stevens have history with the college as contributors to the school’s internal scholarship program.
The awarding of the tender puts the college on track to start construction as soon as conditions permit and open the doors of the Trades and Technology Centre in September 2015.
At its full capacity of 350 graduates per year, the centre will be able to turn out about a third of the approximately 1,000 skilled trades people the Parkland region will require over the next 10 years according to Saskatchewan government projections.
Studies have shown that students who are able to study near home tend to stay in the area or at least in the province.
It will also have the ability to upgrade the skills of up to 2,000 workers according to a press release.