Lauren Cutler – Today Staff
Keyano College will be receiving $2.3 million for barrier-free accessibility and infrastructure enhancement thanks to both the federal and provincial governments and a new $12 million allocation to northern Alberta’s post-secondary schools.
According to a media release from Jean, the $12 million will be divided between Athabasca University ($8 million), Northern Lakes College ($1.3 million), Portage College ($550,000) and Keyano College ($2.3 million).
The funds are part of the Knowledge Infrastructure Fund and will be split 50-50 by the feds and the province.
The goal of the Knowledge Infrastructure program is to build research and instructional capacity and enhance technical infrastructure.
“I think the reality is that most of my family has at one time or another attended Keyano College,” Jean told Today. “It’s an integral cornerstone of the community.”
“This (money) is going to do a couple of things. The first thing it’s going to do is it’s going to help Keyano College with some of their infrastructure needs.
“But long term, what it really does is it creates some stimulus in our economy and makes sure that those people who have been out of work for a period of time can get back to work …
“It’s going to help our college just make sure we’re competitive with the rest of the world and with the rest of educational institutes across the country.”
The money was awarded based on “the merit and readiness” of each project.
“Ensuring the health and safety of our students is a primary concern for Keyano College,” said college president Jim Foote in a media release.
“This funding enables us to upgrade and maintain our security and fire alarm systems and to install emergency communications systems throughout the College. The funding also allows us to plan and implement improvements to Clearwater Campus.”
However the money will also go partially to Keyano College’s Learner Assistance Program, which lends a hand to students with a number of barriers including mobility, vision, hearing, learning, physical, or mental health.
Foote said there is an increased demand for the program, and having more physically challenged students means they need to improve campus accessibility.
“This funding allows us to enhance accessibility, and remove physical barriers to education and services,” he said.