An increased and accelerated investment of $125 million in Budget 2016 has allowed the University of Lethbridge to begin construction immediately on the Destination Project.
The Destination Project includes construction of a new 36,000-square metre science and academic building giving students access to leading-edge labs and programming. The University of Lethbridge has experienced increasing demand and the new building will increase capacity in science programs by 450 students. Government has committed $248 million to the Destination Project over the next five years. The new science and academic building is expected to open for faculty and students in fall 2019.
“This is an investment in our province’s future," says Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt. "The Destination Project will not only provide access to world-class programming and learning opportunities for students, but will also help encourage growth and economic diversification in southern Alberta by capitalizing on the research and innovation taking place at the University of Lethbridge.”
The Destination Project’s innovative construction plans include flexible lab spaces, dedicated space to bring ideas to reality, science displays, classrooms and meeting rooms, and gathering areas that will meet the needs of students, staff, industry and the community today and in the future.'
The new building will also support the business development and commercialization activities at the University and will be a science centre for southern Alberta.
“The Destination Project will create a state-of-the-art learning experience for students and will provide the necessary space for the University of Lethbridge’s leading researchers," says U of L President and Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mike Mahon. "The positive economic and social impact of this infrastructure on the communities we serve cannot be overstated. This new space will enhance innovation through partnerships with industry and increase community engagement by making science accessible to southern Albertans.”
Currently there are between 70 to 100 workers on the Destination Project construction site. That number will rise to between 300 and 400 within a year. The construction of the Destination Project will generate an estimated $462 million in economic spinoff (gross production).
In Budget 2016, government delivered on its commitment to stable and predictable funding for post-secondary education by maintaining the two-year tuition freeze for students as well as increasing base operating grants by two per cent and backfilling funding for the tuition freeze for institutions.