Home » Ceremony marks completion of COTR trades hall

Posted: August 10, 2018

Ceremony marks completion of COTR trades hall

College of the Rockies (COTR) welcomed B.C.’s Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training and other dignitaries to the grand opening of its new $11.5 million trades hall.

The Patterson Hall trades training facility will increase training capacity and accommodate new technology and equipment for students in the electrical and industrial mechanic (millwright) programs at COTR. It will expand the college’s ability to provide the most current trades training will help meet growing industry demand for skilled workers in the region.

“We’re opening the doors to better training and more opportunities for students to help build the best B.C.,” said Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training. “The new trades training facility in Cranbrook will better equip students with the skills and training that will give them good-paying, family-supporting careers in a range of industries.”

Sara Weech, an electrician apprenticeship student at the college told the gathering: “I really appreciate how the trades training I received at the College of the Rockies has opened up new opportunities for me. I now have a job that I love and one that is a perfect fit for me personally. It’s great that more students will be able to attend trades training in this new facility.”

Funding for the $11.5-million building came from the Province of B.C., the Government of Canada’s Strategic Investment Fund, the Columbia Basin Trust, a private-sector donation from Teck, and the College of the Rockies.

The province provides $4.8 million; Government of Canada $4.2 million; Columbia Basin Trust $1 million; Teck $800,000; and College of the Rockies $700,000 to make this project happen.

“This once-in-a-generation investment by the Government of Canada positions Canada as a global centre for innovation,” stated Navdeep Bains, Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development in a media release. “It moves forward the government’s vision to make Canada a world leader in turning ideas into solutions, science into technologies, skills into jobs and startup companies into global successes. The Canadian economy can become globally competitive when we create conditions conducive to innovation and long-term growth, like this investment.”

“Thanks to the provincial and federal governments, and our community funders, this state-of-the-art facility will allow students to learn on the most cutting-edge technology, in the most supportive environment. We’re giving our students the best education and building up a skilled workforce that will serve the needs of our communities and industry partners,” said College of the Rockies president David Walls.

“The new Patterson Hall trades training facility will improve the Columbia Basin’s post-secondary options and strengthen our workforce. Students can achieve their career goals locally, while our region’s employers will have a greater opportunity to hire the skilled tradespeople they need,” added Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, of Columbia Basin Trust.

“By supporting upgraded training facilities and trades scholarships, Teck is pleased to help students in the region access the strong career opportunities created by the mining industry. This investment will help strengthen the economy of the East Kootenay region by helping to meet the growing demand for skilled workers in the mining industry,” noted Robin Sheremeta, senior vice-president, Teck Coal.

“Equipping our apprentices with a modern training space with the latest technology is a sure way to prepare British Columbians with the right skills and knowledge for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We’re excited to see the government investing in trades training and advancing our apprentices on a successful apprenticeship pathway,” said Gary Herman, Industry Training Authority CEO.

Patterson Hall has state-of-the-art features including an electrical concepts lab, where computer technology will allow students to learn hands-on wiring techniques in a virtual setting.

The building measures 1,904-square-metres and includes four classrooms and dedicated workshops for electrical and industrial mechanic students. A collaborative project workspace will serve as a shared workspace, and as overflow for the heavy duty equipment technician program.

Patterson Hall has 240 full-time-equivalent spaces for electrician and industrial mechanic (millwright) programs and has capacity to grow.

The building was named Patterson Hall to recognize the college’s founder, James Patterson, a local miner and school board member. Patterson was instrumental in bringing vocational training to the region, and was the first chair of what was then called East Kootenay Community College.

Over 10,000 learners a year are enrolled in classes at College of the Rockies’ seven campuses, taking courses in developmental, career and vocational trades and technology programs, academic programs and part-time continuing education.

Lead image: Melanie Mark, Minister of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, centre, cuts the ribbon along with college and project funding dignitaries August 10 to celebrate the grand opening of Patterson Hall. Carrie Schafer/e-KNOW photo

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