RDC reaches new milestone with the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre
Let me be the first to say welcome – or welcome back – to Red Deer College! This is a very exciting time at RDC, and we are so pleased that you’re here to experience all that this year will offer.
A couple of weeks ago, we celebrated a historic milestone when we opened our new Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre/Centre des Jeux du Canada Gary W. Harris. Thousands of people – including members of your SA Executive, students, faculty, staff, partners and community members all toured the building, after much anticipation over the past months.
Awesome, jaw-dropping, game-changer and iconic were a few words I heard used to describe the new health, wellness and sport facility. For you, our students, this building represents a new page in the history of this College. The Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is another stepping stone that will improve teaching and learning opportunities and your time at RDC, and it’s another important piece as we transition to a recognized university.
Our celebrations for the grand opening included an official ribbon-cutting on August 22, where we welcomed our partners to celebrate with us. Government officials, the City of Red Deer, Canada Games Council and Host Society representatives, along with philanthropists Gary Harris and Jack and Joan Donald joined us for this historic opening.
And what a celebration it was! Three years in the making, the $88 million Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre is the result of the work of so many. They should be proud of their contributions to a Centre that will serve our students, our community and our region for generations to come.
And it will be busy. For all of our students and Athletics teams that have been waiting to use the facility, your time is finally here. Community interest has also been immense, and the building will be humming with activity each and every day. Plus, as the designated legacy facility for the Games, the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre will serve our College and our community members in exciting new ways.
As you are likely aware, this fall we are hosting five pre-Games events in preparation for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. The Games will take place from February 15 to March 3, 2019, and immediately after, we will be hosting the Canadian Collegiate Athletic Association Men’s Volleyball National Championships – for the first time more than 30 years. Tournaments, conferences and community use will ensure strong economic activity for our region.
We are proud to be a part of the Canada Winter Games and all that the partnership has enabled – and the Games will be amazing, of that I have no doubt. But our decision to partner on this once in a generation opportunity was based not only on hosting the Games, but on the impact new facilities would have on our future capacity to serve our students and communities long into the future.
And make no mistake, the opening of the Centre is about the future – the future of our region, our community and our College – and the University we are becoming. It is about our ability to better serve our students and communities in new and innovative ways through the addition of more programs, including our own degrees. Great programs, well delivered in state-of-the-art facilities will ensure the future of RDC as a recognized university. More opportunities for students to study closer to home will have a major impact on our economic, cultural and social growth.
When it comes to facilities for teaching, learning, innovation and research, RDC is leaping into the future. This amazing facility, our new residence and our new Alternative Energy Lab all reflect our commitment to reduce our carbon footprint while reducing our heating and cooling costs. Through the unique vertical installation of solar panels on our Residence building and more than 2,000 solar panels on the roof of the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, RDC will be one of the leaders in Canada when it comes to alternative energy innovation.
My thanks to the Government of Alberta, and in particular to Premier Rachel Notley and Minister of Advanced Education, Marlin Schmidt, for the future they have enabled by their announcement earlier this year.
And for you, our students, your future begins now. Our Apprentice courses started on August 27, and credit classes begin at Red Deer College today. As we welcome you back and wish you all the best with your programs, another academic year has begun. But this year is different. We know that we are becoming a University, we have opened the Gary W. Harris Canada Games Centre, and we are looking to future opportunities unlike anything we’ve seen before.
As always, if you have any suggestions or questions, please email me at [email protected] or call my office at 403.342.3233.