RDC reveals plans for new Residence
On October 19, Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education came to RDC to make a special construction announcement giving permission to borrow funds to construct a new student Residence.
The announcement took place in our Arts Centre foyer. Dignitaries, supporters, community members and our building partners joined students, faculty and staff to hear the news and to learn more about the new Residence. It was rewarding to see such a diverse group of enthusiastic people at this event, because their support is what made this new Residence a reality. Minister Schmidt is a strong proponent of affordable housing options for students and was a strong advocate for our new Residence. The support of our local MLA’s Kim Schreiner and Barb Miller, our partners and most importantly our Students’ Association was critical in getting this Residence approved.
But this is no ordinary Residence.
The east, west and south-facing sides of the building will be clad with vertically installed, electricity-generating solar panels. Through the unique vertical installation of solar panels on our Residence building, RDC will be one of the leaders in Canada’s alternative energy innovation.
Combining the latest in solar technology, and other green technologies, our Residence will be a demonstration site to showcase the latest alternative energy solutions to small and medium business and industry. And, it will reduce RDC’s carbon footprint by 67%. To put it in perspective, it is equivalent to removing 1100 cars from the road annually.
The data collected from the solar panels and other technologies will be collected and analyzed by students in our Alternative Energy Lab, currently under construction. In the lab, the students will be able to analyze how things like weather conditions and seasons impact the electricity generation, and they will apply this knowledge to their studies on future alternative energy technologies.
The innovative residence building aligns with RDC’s future vision to be green and sustainable while reducing our carbon footprint. Our new Residence is a part of our Alternative Energy Initiative, which promotes environmental stewardship and is a part of the College’s over-arching Green Energy Master Plan.
The new Residence has been part of RDC’s vision for the last five years, and every element of it has been carefully designed to address the needs of current and future students living on campus. The building will have 145 studio suites, with 10% of them accessible. The suites will complement our existing inventory of tower and family-style units on campus, enabling us to offer students a range of different options of accommodations and costs to best meet their needs.
We will begin breaking ground on the new Residence soon, and you will see the building taking shape in the coming months. When it is complete in early 2019, the first guests will be athletes who are in central Alberta for the 2019 Canada Winter Games. After the Games, students who have short-term educational needs, including Apprenticeship students, will move in. Starting in fall 2019, the building will become a regular part of our Residence inventory serving students, as well as adult and youth learners attending our Series Summer Arts School and Summer Camps, and individuals and groups on campus for a variety of purposes.
Joel Ward is President & CEO of Red Deer College
This column was first published in the Red Deer Advocate on Saturday, October 28, 2017.