Recent History – 2004-2006
By Gary Rusak, Daily News Staff
Nothing says growth like a new building. And that was exactly what was being unveiled at the official ribbon cutting for the new $3.34 million Northern Lights College administration centre on Wednesday afternoon.
“I know that this is one of the few buildings on campus that was built for the purpose for which it is intended,” said Kate O’Neil, chair of the board of governors at Northern Lights College, as she addressed the crowded lobby. “We have many of them that have been adapted. It is a delight for the regional staff to have a home of their own and one that was built specifically for the purpose it serves.”
The new building, designed by the Grande Prairie architectural firm Field, Field and Field, encompasses 10,760 square feet of office and storage space. It is home to 28 regional staff members that provide services to the eight campuses and learning centres of the college. Prior to the new building, administrators were spread throughout four different locations on the local campus.
“The request to build this building was put in somewhere back in 1994,” said O’Neil adding that any capital expansion takes time. “Throughout the college system we are very delighted we are making our aims. It means we are able to increase the opportunities that we offer.”
Alana Wark, student council president, spoke on behalf of the student population and congratulated the college’s board on their achievement.
“Because of the new regional building we as students and as citizens have access to information regarding educational programs, First Nations issues, disability assistance and career planning and peer and mentorship support” she said. “We thank you for your continued support, advice and professionalism.”
Jim Kassen, president of Northern Lights College, was so excited about the new building that he planted a kiss on the reception desk to the delight of the gathered crowd.
“This is a really important time for us,” he said. “In my 35 years of college management this is my first time ever working in an office that was designed to be an office. We are really pleased to have it.”
Appropriately enough, the Northern Lights College culinary arts students provided the catering for the occasion. The large crowd of guests, students and Northern Lights College employees enjoyed gourmet hors d’oeuvres, fruit, vegetables and desserts.
Speaking for the city, councillor Alvin Stedel said that the new building is an impressive addition to the community.
“I’m happy to have the opportunity to be involved with opening up a new facility that will go a long way to enhance the quality of life in all the northern communities,” he said. “It makes it a lot easier for our local people to get the education they need to get and then they can contribute back to our society by using that education to assist all of us.”