Nearly $19 million dollars.
That’s how much cash is getting dumped into Selkirk’s trades program thanks to investments from the provincial and federal government, as well as other community partners such as Columbia Basin Trust. And on Tuesday the college invited education enthusiasts up to the Silver King campus to celebrate.
“It’s way easier to learn something when you’re actually interested in what you’re doing,” electrical foundation student David Collier told the crowd, which included provincial minister Andrew Wilkinson.
“Being a student here at Selkirk has been a great experience. I’m happy to see the college is currently undergoing renovations and I’m extremely excited to come back for my second, third and fourth years to see all the improvements.”
Artistic renderings of the planned improvements were displayed for attendees alongside a beam that will be included in the project. Students and staff were invited to sign it, which they did enthusiastically. Some of the notable attendees included Selkirk College President Angus Graeme, Nelson-Creston MLA Michelle Mungall and Dean Kate Pelletier.
“Selkirk College is celebrating 50 years of helping to build a vibrant Kootenay region and preparing students for success,” Wilkinson told the crowd.
“The rejuvenation of the Silver King Campus positions Selkirk for another golden 50 years of helping students to build a bright future for their families and community.”
These funds, which consist of $5.8 from the Canadian government and $10.3 from B.C., are intended to address the environmental sustainability of these buildings while modernizing and enhancing them. There will be a new aboriginal gathering space, cafeteria and improved learning spaces.
“It’s so great to see students, staff and our friends,” Graeme told the audience, expressing relief that Wilkinson’s plane successfully landed in Castlegar despite inclement weather.
“I think it’s so important to pay great attention to these markers of progress that we celebrate today…For half a century we’ve seen this campus quietly and expertly go about the business of producing high quality graduates in the skilled and apprentice trades and technical and professional careers.”
Graeme said he finds it “really cool that some of our students today are the third generation in their family to attend this campus and receive this training.”
And it will only getter better from here according to Wilkinson.
“Selkirk is a first-class institution that runs very smoothly, produces high quality graduates and serves it’s local community in extraordinary ways.
“It’s worth every penny. We knew Silver King needed a reboot, so we’re pleased to be putting in $10 million for this overhaul,” he said.
“This is an excellent investment because all you folks want to improve your skills, be the best you can be, work where you want to and hopefully work here in the West Kootenay because this is about the best place in the world to live.
“You know that, I envy that and you want to have the training and skills to be prosperous.”
The way he put it: “We’re fully endorsing your plan.”
Wilkinson said the province is anticipating approximately a million job openings in the next ten years, with 130,000 in the eastern corner of British Columbia due to retirements and growing sectors.
“The young people in this space today, you’re looking forward to a very bright future and we’re delighted to put a lot of money into this community to make that possible.”