A 40-bed residence and a business research centre, estimated at $9 million, was announced April 8 at the College of Geographic Sciences in Lawrencetown.
Stephen McNeil made the announcement at the school, and the Premier also unveiled multi-million-dollar infrastructure projects at the Strait Area Campus in Port Hawkesbury and the Institute of Technology Campus in Halifax.
“Nova Scotia Community College has a solid track record of training Nova Scotians to contribute to our province as work-ready graduates, inventors, entrepreneurs, and community leaders,” said McNeil. “Investing in the infrastructure that supports students and faculty today will continue to position NSCC and Nova Scotia as leaders in post-secondary skills training.”
COGS is home to Canada’s largest geomatics-focused learning environment where students and industry professionals are trained to launch and build mapping and information technology solutions.
The construction of a 40-bed residence at COGS is a priority to supplement the area’s residential rental options, said NSCC officials. The new 27,000 square-foot space will include a business research centre.
“It will bring industry, students, and researchers together, serving as a hub for tackling geospatial challenges and issues that cut across key Nova Scotia sectors like agriculture, energy, health, wellness, and aquaculture,” the college said in a media release.
Student Liam Gowan, a Dalhousie University computer science graduate, is completing an advance diploma in geographic sciences at COGS and was on hand for the announcement.
“The space will give students a chance to work directly with industry professionals, learning from them, and we hope, maybe, in turn, they will learn from some of our ideas,” Gowan said. “That space will give them a chance to connect with the industry, research, and community partners that are needed by students as they build on their ideas.”
He said opening an on-site residence will give 40 more spaces in the community and allow even more students to come to Lawrencetown from across the province, country, and world,” Gowan said. “This means that even more people will be able to take advantage of the unique programming, tremendous resources, and great facilities COGS offers.”
“I think it’s a great announcement. Any time we bring industry and education together, particularly in a community like this, it improves the opportunity for the local folks to be engaged and perhaps spin off other economic opportunities here in Annapolis County, and maybe even Lawrencetown itself,” said Lawrencetown Village Commission Chairman Brian Reid.
“We haven’t had a real big boost to our agricultural economy here for a long time,” he said. “So I think engaging industry and students in some of the projects that they want to tackle there bodes well for Annapolis County.”
He said the residence beds means that industry-based programs as short as several weeks in the summer could be accommodated. “There is potentially opportunity for us to have people coming through the community all year round. I’m hoping that’s how the plans work out.”
“As principal of COGS, and on behalf of my counterparts at IT and Strait Area campuses, we’re so happy to see these important projects moving forward, and we’re grateful to the province, the college, and those who helped us through the planning process,” said Annapolis Valley Campus Principal Dr. Wayne St-Amour. “I can’t wait for the doors to open in the new addition next year to welcome even more students like Liam to expand their knowledge base and expand the possibilities before them. And a special appreciation to the Lawrencetown community we’re part of, our neighbours in the area for their thoughts and ideas over the past 18 months. I would especially like to thank Brian Reid who has been a close ally with us on this project. Everyone’s input and support has been invaluable in getting us to this point today.”
The announcement also included construction of a new residence at the Strait Area Campus in Port Hawkesbury estimated at $7 million, and the addition of an IT Innovation Centre at the IT Campus in Halifax worth $8 million.
The college said the hope is to help grow the NSCC’s footprint, expand programming, and better respond to demand within areas of growth.
Also on hand for the announcements were Nova Scotia Minister of Labour and Advanced Education Labi Kousoulis, and NSCC President Don Bureaux.
Bureaux says the new centres and residences will support important high-demand industry and training needs.
“We’re looking forward to the exciting possibilities these new spaces and resources will create for students to open doors to exciting careers in growing sectors of our economy and have the space to collaborate with business on research and applied learning,” Bureaux said.
“NSCC plays an important role in ensuring Nova Scotia has the workforce that it needs today and in the future,” said Kousoulis. “These are smart investments that will help NSCC prepare job-ready graduates in critical areas like IT, marine training, and geomatics.”
Work will move forward immediately through initial requests for proposals to get all three projects underway.