An official sod turning was held last week on two new world-class facilities at Lambton College.
The $30-million Nova Chemicals Health and Research Centre and the $12-million Athletics and Fitness Complex are to open in the fall of 2018.
Second-year Bachelor of Nursing student Kristine Wildschut was on hand for the June 22 ceremony.
“The hands-on learning here is going to be amazing,” Wildschut said. “We can compete with anyone. I’m proud to be here.”
Newly minted registered practical nurse Virginia Ellison said her profession will benefit from new learning opportunities without leaving Sarnia.
“The networking and advanced technology will allow me to upgrade my skills as a nurse,” Ellison explained.
The 60,000-square-foot health centre will offer the latest in classroom simulation training, research opportunities and illness prevention —including mental health training.
The 40,000 square-foot fitness complex, to be paid for by past and current student fees, will house a double gymnasium and fitness and studio spaces.
The two centers will be housed in one building but share infrastructure and an elevator for greater efficiency.
The process of putting the final touches on the design and choosing a contractor is now underway. The 22-month construction period is set to begin in September.
Lambton College president and CEO Judith Morris told the assembled crowd that Nova’s $2-million contribution is an extraordinary tribute to the partnership between the manufacturer and college.
And she expressed gratitude to the students.
“This is all because of you,” she said. “Your future is our future.”
The ceremony took place exactly one year after the launch of the Envision Tomorrow Capital Campaign.
NOVA Chemicals’ contribution was its largest ever locally and earned it the naming rights for the health facility.
Former MP Pat Davidson was also honoured for her determination in pushing the project forward.
“Kudos for taking our message to the top,” Morris told Davidson.
The $45-million Lambton College fundraising campaign has been supported by all levels of government, including $20 million from the federal and provincial governments.
The buildings and infrastructure carry a $40 million plus price tag. An additional $3 million is slated for equipment renewal.
Fundraisers are hoping to raise another $11.7 million to reach the goal.
The ceremony saw Envision Tomorrow Campaign chair Andy
Brandt use the same shovel that was used in the original sod turning for Lambton College 45 years ago.
“I am extremely proud of the college today and I am going to be even more proud tomorrow,” Brandt said.
“Let’s go get ‘em for the last $11 million!”