May 3, 2018 - Ottawa - Anita Vandenbeld spoke at the inauguration of Algonquin College's new Discovery, Applied Research and Entrepreneurship (DARE) building. Almost half the funding for this project - $22.9 million - came from the federal government's Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund. The new multipurpose building will be home to a new library and learning centre, an Indigenous Commons, a space for students to access the newest technology, a cybersecurity centre and more. MP Vandenbeld was very proud to have been involved since the very first concept stage of this project.
Algonquin College opens new DARE District
– New $44.9 million building devoted to discovery, applied research, and entrepreneurship –
May 3 – OTTAWA – Algonquin College capped off its 50th Anniversary year celebrations by daring to look to the future with the grand opening of its new building, the DARE District.
At a special event and ribbon cutting, the College opened the doors on the new heart of its Ottawa campus – an innovative project two years in the making. Fittingly, Algonquin’s past and present were on hand to mark the milestone. The over 500 attendees included students, employees, alumni, and community leaders.
The DARE District will include the College’s new library and learning centre, an Indigenous Commons, makerspaces that will allow students to get their hands on the latest technology, a Cybersecurity Centre, and more. It will be home to new training and test facilities for high-demand job sectors, a multimedia production facility, expanded Applied Research and Innovation programs, and an area dedicated to Indigenous entrepreneurship.
“This a place where the dreams of our learners will take flight,” said Cheryl Jensen, Algonquin College President and CEO. “So much of learning is about discovery, and our DARE District has created the space for that to happen.”
The DARE District will serve as a multidisciplinary space for faculty, researchers, businesses and – most importantly – Algonquin’s students. From an Energy Research Lab to a Data Analytics Centre, it will be a catalyst for cutting-edge education. The new library is wired for the latest in high-tech learning — everything from digital-literacy labs and student learning centres to studios for multimedia presentations.
The Algonquin College community gathered on Thursday to celebrate the new $44.9 million building.
The Algonquin College Students’ Association invested $1 million towards Indigenous art and architecture in the new facility. SA President Deijanelle Simon said the DARE District will contribute to an “inclusive” learning environment “that furthers our understanding of our country’s Indigenous culture and history. This will be a building about discovery.”
The DARE District project was supported by $21.9 million through the federal government’s Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund and $2.9 million from the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities’ Facilities Renewal Program fund.
“The DARE District is preparing the workers of the future” by giving students “access to the best learning experience possible,” said Bob Chiarelli, MPP (Ottawa West – Nepean), Ontario’s Minister of Infrastructure.
“The DARE District building creates a model for colleges across Canada,” said Anita Vandenbeld, MP (Ottawa West – Nepean), while highlighting the building’s “leading-edge resources,” technology and unique Indigenous components.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson also spoke at the grand opening. “This is a beautiful addition to an amazing institution,” he said. “Algonquin College is making entrepreneurship a priority… and that is important for our community and province.”
Indigenous culture is central to the design and services of the DARE District. The event included a formal recognition that Algonquin College is located on unceded territory of the Algonquin People.
“Algonquin College is leading the way in Indigenizing programs and spaces,” said Monique Manatch, an Algonquin Elder and Knowledge Keeper.
“Indigenous culture will be a thread that runs through the DARE District, and also through all of our campuses,” President Jensen said. “It will touch every learner, employee, and visitor to Algonquin College.”
Three architecture firms contributed to the design of the DARE District: Diamond Schmitt Architects and Brook McIlroy from Toronto, and Ottawa’s Edward J. Cuhaci and Associates Architects Inc.
The DARE District grand opening event was followed by a 50th Anniversary Birthday Bash, which included cake cutting and live entertainment. Thursday evening, the campus festivities are slated to continue with the Algonquin College 50th Anniversary Gala, a ticketed fundraiser.
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