There were guaranteed smiles under the facemasks of Vanderhoof Mayor Gerry Thiessen and Saik’uz First Nation Councillor Jasmine Thomas, who stood outside the entrance of the College of New Caledonia’s (CNC) latest campus.
Inside, a red ribbon was cut Thursday afternoon, August 26, with B.C’s Parliamentary Secretary for Skills Training, Andrew Mercier and CNC president, Dennis Johnson to celebrate the opening of the new campus that will provide trades training and post-secondary programs for up to 136 students.
“The community of Vanderhoof is excited and thankful to the Province of B.C., to see the confidence and commitment to our residents, as well as those of the surrounding communities, that rely on us for services, health care and education,” Thiessen stated in a news release.
“This building is the cumulation of about a decade of planning and work into a vision of educating close to home. We are looking forward to working with CNC and the Province of B.C. to educate our citizens for real meaningful employment, which will help us diversify the next generation.”
The newly renovated $6.5-million campus at 195 1st Street East includes a classroom, shop and library areas focusing on physical and digital accessibility. Digital delivery instruction, according to a news release, will make it possible for students to join classroom instruction in Prince George while completing coursework and projects in Vanderhoof.
Programs to be offered at the Vanderhoof CNC campus include trades training on a rotational basis, including millwright, piping, carpentry, welding and trades discovery; applied business technology administrative assistant (certificate); and university studies, bookkeeping, human services and business courses.
The campus will also support a group of students taking part in the Health Career Access Program receive hands-on skills in a specifically equipped classroom to become health care assistants.
An earlier investment by the B.C. Government of $1.7 million was provided to purchase the property in 2017.
CNC health-care assistant program instructor Miriam Ludwig said the new campus has given them so much.
“The classrooms are flexible and adaptable. We have digital connections to link students in Vanderhoof with their peers at other CNC campuses. Our lab is first-rate, giving students great hands-on learning opportunities,” she said.
“All of this adds up to a high-quality experience for students, and a place our community can be proud of.”
CNC operates campuses in Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Fort St. James, Mackenzie, Prince George and Quesnel.