North Island College Celebrates Opening of More Accessible Campus at Thunderbird Mall in Port Hardy
NIC celebrated the opening of its new $1.4 million campus at on Thursday, January 18 with an open house that brought together students, faculty and community partners from across the North Island. “Throughout my time at NIC, I’ve heard from many community members how important advanced education and training is to the local community,” said NIC President John Bowman. “It is critical to the health, social well‐being and economic development of the North Island.”
The 6,000 square foot campus is located at Port Hardy’s Thunderbird Mall and is more accessible to students and community members in the region’s main transportation, service and shopping areas. The college offers an opportunity to build on the existing programming and includes four classrooms, an Interactive TV room that brings students, instructors and courses at other NIC campuses into the facility in real time with more clarity than ever before.
“Students can start their university degree, or earn a credential, without ever having to leave the North Island,” said Bowman. “That’s an enormous saving that puts education within reach for many students.” The biggest classroom, the Community / Healthcare room, is designed to deliver health programs and first aid training. The new campus includes an open study area and computer lab, offices and assessment areas, a well‐equipped lunch room and a welcoming student lounge with wooden beams and cedar siding designed to emulate the Kwakwaka’wakw artistic traditions.
A Library and Learning Commons includes quiet study and meeting spaces, writing, math, research and technical support, peer tutoring and several electronic collections, including 24/7 access to approximately 166,000 e-books, 25,500 streaming videos and almost 80 research databases.
“We also have a pretty phenomenal book selection,” said NIC Campus and Community Coordinator Caitlin Hartnett. “We have focused our collections on First Nations, botany, ecology and wild foods to reflect the culture and place here — and anyone can take out books once they register as a community borrower.”
Bowman thanked all the staff, students, relocation committee and community partners, who provided input in the campus’ design and development, the team of staff and contractors who brought their ideas to life and were patient throughout the transition between campuses as well as the BC Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills and Training, who funded the project.
“We are very fortunate to operate with the support of the Northern Regional Aboriginal Advisory Committee and the Mount Waddington Learning Council, who provide invaluable insight into the programs and delivery methods needed in this community,” he said.” We trust that with their input we can continue to grow together and support all the communities on the North Island.”
The college now offers a full range of programs from tuition‐free upgrading to first and second‐year university transfer courses. New offerings this year include NIC’s reduced‐rate Joy of Lifelong Learning courses for students 55+, as well as a Tourism and Hospitality certificate program, starting January 29.