December 15, 2017 – Tyler Kula, The Observer – Sarnia’s skyline stretches to the west from the summit of a 67-foot tower at Lambton College, the top of a massive addition under construction.
Eventually, it’ll be glassed in and bear the college’s logo — a beacon, says president Judith Morris.
Sixty-seven pays homage to the college’s founding year in 1967, she notes.
Right now, the tower is a skeleton of girders.
Ditto for the 60,000-square-foot Nova Chemicals Health and Research Centre and the 40,000-square-foot athletics and fitness complex — all part of a $47-million expansion and renovation begun in November 2016, said Brent Thomas, director of facilities management.
That figure includes renovations and additions to the Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies, where hands-on fermentation, water and wastewater, and steam boiler labs are in the works.
“There’s a lot of bricks and mortar, but it really is about visioning the future for teaching and learning,” said Morris.
Lambton officials toured media through the construction zones Friday.
Most of the work is due to finish in September, except for the health and research centre, where three 12-bed nursing labs are going, alongside simulated dwellings for students in the paramedic program to practise emergency calls, said Marg Dragan, vice-president of finance and administration.
That space is due to open in January 2019.
Plans are to invite Bluewater Health and others to also use it for professional development, Dragan said.
Glass and natural light are big components throughout the new build.
“People have been particularly enamoured with the roof lines,” said Morris. “The architecture, I think, is quite extraordinary.”
The work signals a shift in approach for the college “from the sage on stage to the guide on the side, which really just means we are including our students in the teaching and learning process,” she said.
Simulators are going everywhere. A hands-on massage therapy clinic and the boiler lab are examples. The centre of excellence renovation centralizes three instrumentation laboratories spread out across campus, said Thomas.
A new 3,000-square-foot lab space for applied research moves some college amenities from the nearby Western University research park, Morris said.
The college and park are part of a collaboration to create new business opportunities in bio-industry. “We’re hoping to drive the economic engine,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting.”
Also built in are opportunities for industry and businesses have space in the classroom, Morris said. “So Nova might have a project or a problem that they might want solved. They’ll bring that in,” she said.