Last month, construction began on TRU’s new Industrial Training and Technology centre. The $30-million project aims to add 550 full-time equivalent student spaces (FTEs) to trades and technology programs at TRU.
The new building, which is directly located behind the existing school of trades and technology, will host a variety of new programs that will bridge the gap between fields such as engineering and trades, according to new dean of trades, Baldev Pooni. The building will also help the school of trades in the expansion of existing programs.
TRU president Alan Shaver hopes that with the new addition of this facility, TRU will be able to provide education students need to survive in local industries.
“This new facility will enable Thompson Rivers University to co-locate trades and technology programs, a move that supports our university’s contribution of relevant education and research to various industry sectors in Canada,” said Shaver on the first day of the facility’s construction.
Despite the facility’s $30-million price tag, much of the project’s finances came from outside sources. The federal government contributed $13.25 million through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, an initiative that aims to enhance and modernize facilities on Canadian campuses and improve the environmental sustainability of these facilities.
Another $7.03 million was provided by the the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education. TRU contributed an additional $8 million. While the last $2 million came from a Western Diversification Equipment grant that the university applied for several years ago.
Once completed, the building is expected to have a low operating cost of $100,000 a year, says TRU VP finance, Matt Milovick.
“The operating cost will be fairly low because of the sustainability features we are putting in the building,” Milovick said. “We expect the new building to be much more efficient than the old one, based on new technologies.”
Besides expanding the school of trades at TRU, Milovick expects the project to be economically beneficial to the region as well.
“Economic spin-offs direct and indirect are about $20 million,” Milovick said. “The project will create 244 full-time equivalent jobs as well.”
The existing school of trades and technology will still be well used, however. While new programs may be moved into that building, Milovick says the development of TRU’s engineering program must be completed before any decisions are made.
Construction of the facility is expected to finish up next spring and will hopefully be ready for use in the fall of 2018.