It was a party at Lambton College Wednesday as the Sarnia school celebrated the culmination of 10 years working towards a new health and research centre.
The $30-million, 5,574-square-metre (60,000-square-foot) facility name-sponsored by Nova Chemicals was officially opened amid a shower of confetti.
Lambton president Judy Morris touted the centre’s hands-on, interdisciplinary approach to learning.
Labs for students in paramedicine, pharmacy, nursing and other programs are intermingled so students in different disciplines work together, as emergency responders, health-care and social assistance providers do in the real world.
“The impact that training will have on the local community really cannot be understated,” Morris said.
The community is aging, and training for health-care jobs is in demand – both to care for people as they age and to replace a retiring workforce, said Mike Lapaine, CEO of Bluewater Health, and vice-chair of the college’s board of directors.
A $14.2-million Centre of Excellence in Energy and Bio-Industrial Technologies was feted then, and a grand opening for the college’s $18.2-million, 3,716-square-metre (40,000-square-foot) Athletics and Fitness Complex was held in October.
The fitness and research centres are the result of a $48-million Envision Tomorrow capital campaign that saw $20 million contributed from the federal and provincial governments, $5 million from the County of Lambton, $8.6 million from Lambton’s student administrative council, and $2 million from Nova Chemicals.
The Centre of Excellence was also funded with senior government money and help from various other donors, but its funding wasn’t part of the capital campaign, said college spokesperson Jami Kloet.
The three projects, built concurrently starting in 2016, together total $62.4 million.
A time capsule was also being embedded in the research centre’s wall, to open in 2067.
“This facility is a point of pride for Lambton College,” Morris said. “We are grateful to all who put forward the energy, the interest and the enthusiasm to bring it to fruition.”
It represents an investment in the future of the Sarnia-Lambton, she said.
“Our students will receive an exceptional education which will empower them to provide health care for our family, friends and loved ones in our community,” she said. “And that is certainly worth celebrating.”