Selkirk College’s Multi-Million Dollar Capital Project Receives Boost from Columbia Basin Trust

Selkirk College took a major step forward into its future with the announcement of plans for a $32 million capital project that would transform the Silver King Campus in Nelson and the Castlegar Campus into modern learning facilities. With help from a $1 million contribution by Columbia Basin Trust, the campaign to raise the funds is now officially underway.

Selkirk College has kicked off the next exciting chapter in post-secondary education in the West Kootenay-Boundary by securing a $1 million donation from Columbia Basin Trust for facility and equipment upgrades to the trades-based Silver King Campus.

With the generous infusion of funds, Selkirk College is now poised to move ahead with an ambitious project that will provide $32 million in upgrades and enhancements to its Silver King Campus and Castlegar Campus. The end result will be modern facilities that provide the most beneficial learning environments for students.

Selkirk College received a $1 million cheque from Columbia Basin Trust to help launch the college’s $32 million capital improvement project. On Wednesday Selkirk College staff and students were joined by more than 40 local industry, business and political leaders for the official kick-off. Pictured are (L-R): Johnny Strilaeff (Trust vice president and chief operating officers), Am Naqvi (Trust board member representing Nelson), Angus Graeme (Selkirk College president), Neil Muth (Trust president and chief executive officer) and Gary Leier (Selkirk College director of human resources and community relations).

“The opportunities for employment in the skilled trades and in advanced technical careers in the coming decade are tremendous,” says Selkirk College President Angus Graeme. “A well prepared workforce will be essential to the strength of our economy and the resilience of our communities. But we must have state-of-the-art infrastructure and equipment for our youth and returning learners to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Silver King Campus First Opened in 1964

Nelson’s Silver King Campus opened in 1964 as the British Columbia Vocational School, the first such institute in the province. It became part of Selkirk College in 1975 and today houses the majority of trades training programs offered by the college. As the campus enters its 50th year, the facility is in desperate need of revitalization.

Selkirk College President Angus Graeme addresses the crowd who came out for the launch on Wednesday morning.

The launch of the capital improvement campaign is the first step in bringing new life and improved training options to students choosing a career pathway in trades.

“We are pleased to provide these funds that will be used as part of the total funds required to upgrade the Silver King Campus,” says Neil Muth, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “This funding will allow Selkirk College to improve and increase training opportunities in the trades and technology sector—something that is essential to our economic well-being in the Basin.”

The proposed improvements for the Silver King Campus include a major renovation and equipment upgrade to the shop areas, work on the classroom block, and the addition of student common learning spaces. The project involves bringing the facility up to current standards including use of energy efficient heating and lighting, improving the design of the shop classroom spaces, and incorporating spaces for current and future programming.

“As Selkirk College begins the next 50-year chapter of its inspiring story, we are excited to kick off a major fundraising campaign with the goal of much needed investment in facilities,” says Graeme. “In order for us to continue to provide the high quality programs and learning opportunities expected by our students, we absolutely need to be upgrading facilities, technology, equipment, and learning environments. It is such an exciting time to be in the work of accessible, affordable higher education for our youth, adult learners seeking re-training, and for the businesses, industries and communities who support us.”

Castlegar Campus a Major Part of the Capital Plan

The capital campaign also includes a major redevelopment of the learning spaces, classrooms and equipment at Selkirk College’s campus in Castlegar. It will include a minor expansion of the main campus, improved student service areas and modern classrooms required by today’s educators.

“The Provincial Government continues to work with Selkirk College in developing a concept plan for its new trades facility in Nelson,” says Advanced Education Amrik Virk. “Throughout British Columbia, we are strategically investing $750-million in capital projects over the next three years, including infrastructure and equipment to support trades and skilling training.”

The mechanics shop at the Silver King Campus hosted the more than 80 people who came out for the launch.

The government recognizes the importance Selkirk College plays in addressing the long-term goals of the province.

“Selkirk College plays a vital role in ensuring students in the West Kootenay-Boundary have access to the skills training and trades needed in our region of the province and donations like the one made by Columbia Basin Trust are a great investment in our future,” says Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, and Minister Responsible for Core Review.

Project Liftoff a Success

Getting the fundraising phase of the project off the ground with help from the Columbia Basin Trust is a positive sign that the region is moving forward in addressing the future needs of the province.

Students have the most to gain from the proposed project that will revamp the Silver King Campus.

“This launch is all about working as a community to join the BC Government in delivering on the Jobs Plan by investing in post-secondary education in a region with tremendous potential,” says Graeme. “We’re extremely grateful that Columbia Basin Trust, a long-time friend of Selkirk College, has come on board to get us started in such a significant way.”

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