by Paul Vogt | President & CEO
By now, you may have seen the story in the Winnipeg Free Press regarding our decision to halt construction on the Innovation Centre until we can resolve a disagreement with the federal government regarding a reasonable timeline to complete this very important and large-scale College-expansion project.
We are continuing to work with federal government on an extension to the Nov. 30 deadline for construction. This extension is not only in the best interests of our students and the College, it is in the best interest of industry, and our city and province. We must continue to keep pace with other provinces that are investing in innovative learning and moving away from old-style classrooms and methods.
The Centre’s focus is on innovation, entrepreneurship and creative interactions between students, faculty, business, applied research and the community. The Centre is viewed as a crucial pillar for the emerging “innovation eco-system” in Manitoba and as the anchor of the hub of tech and start up enterprises known as Winnipeg’s Innovation Alley. It would also house new Indigenous programming in the areas of social innovation and entrepreneurship.
The Innovation Centre would also mark a significant expansion of RRC’s Exchange District Campus, which has involved the restoration of several heritage sites and been vital to the revitalization of this historic neighborhood. The Centre would bring more than a 1,200 additional students, staff and faculty to the campus, which also includes RRC’s successful culinary institute Paterson GlobalFoods.
Since signing the formal agreement with the federal government last June – less than eight months ago – a significant and aggressive amount of design work has been completed, and the intricacies involved with developing a heritage building have also been addressed.
Shovels are already in the ground – however, it’s not physically possible to complete construction by the federal government’s deadline. While we continue our work to seek a resolution with the federal government the following tenders are on hold:
- Interior demolition of the Scott Fruit Building;
- Site excavation, site utilities, piles, concrete grade beams, and pile caps;
- The “superstructure” structural steel framing;
- The building envelope, which includes exterior walls, roof;
- Interior including finishes, mechanical and electrical systems; and
- AV, furniture and related equipment.
To date we’ve already completed the demolition of Metro Motors and the remediation of the Innovation Centre site, along with conducting more than 100 user groups meetings and consultations related to design, and development of the Centre.
That work has also included functional space program design; selection and engagement of architect and refining of Centre design; topical and site services survey; various approvals with the City of Winnipeg with respect to heritage requirements, urban design and traffic flows.
More than 15 years ago, RRC was the first institution to make a real investment in the development and expansion of the Exchange District. We have a proven track record of success when it comes to redeveloping our cities communities and heritage buildings, and it’s vitally important that this project move forward.
That’s why I remain hopeful and optimistic that the federal government and RRC will come to meaningful and quick resolution to this issue, so we can get back to business and continue to support our students, faculty, and our partners in business and industry.
If you have any questions or wish to discuss this with me further, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Thank you for your ongoing support.
Paul Vogt | President & CEO