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Trades centre opens to public celebration

Universitys 75th anniversary also cause for festivities
Trades centre opens to public celebration

Powell River residents are invited to celebrate the opening of Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) new trades centre at Powell River campus and the university’s 75th anniversary on October 13.

“Everyone is welcome to visit our new trades centre,” said Arlette Raaen, campus principal. “Our official opening also marks VIU’s 75th anniversary. We have reason to celebrate because the Powell River Campus has been part of VIU’s history for nearly four decades. We invite everyone–students, parents, alumni, community members, business owners and first nations groups to help us celebrate this special day.”

Festivities, which run from 1:30 to 3 pm, include speeches and presentations, a ribbon- and cake-cutting ceremony and tours of the new facility.

The renovated 418-square-metre trades centre will provide students from communities on northern Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast with easier access to trades training.

Federal and provincial governments provided $976,000 funding under phase two of the Knowledge Infrastructure Program.

“The trades centre replaces an out-of-date and aging trades building with a new, efficient facility that greatly enhances the learning environment for students,” said Raaen. “It is a huge step forward for the Powell River campus and entire community.”

Students in trades are now able to access everything VIU’s campus has to offer, including computer labs, the library and bookstore.

Built to LEED Gold or equivalent standard, the new facility increases energy efficiency and reduces greenhouse gas emissions, resulting in significant improvements to indoor air quality, ventilation, lighting, natural lighting and storm drainage.

Post-secondary education arrived in Powell River in 1974 when VIU (formerly Malaspina College) took responsibility for continuing education classes being run by School District 47.

The classes, which were offered evenings only, took place in a small white storefront on Marine Avenue. When the college received funding to run daytime adult basic education (ABE) classes a new campus opened in the Centennial Building, which now houses the archives for Powell River Historical Museum and Archives Association. At that time, the new building had office space and three classrooms, although courses were also held in local elementary schools and hotels.

In 1983, the campus finally moved to a space that could accommodate a growing number of students and staff—the former Gordon Park Elementary School. It was leased from the district and originally had 14 classrooms. Five years later a covered play area was converted into more classrooms and a new entrance, complete with a staffroom, boardroom and main office.

In 2004, the campus was purchased from the school district and air conditioning, new flooring and new lighting installed. The trades centre is the newest addition to the campus.

VIU offers a full range of programs including ABE (high school equivalency), trades programs, university programs including health and human services programs, elder college and online learning at 7085 Nootka Street.