MIRAMICHI (GNB) – The provincial government is investing $5.5 million dollars over three years to expand and improve the Miramichi campus of the New Brunswick Community College (NBCC).

"Post-secondary education is best delivered in a modern, integrated, highly collaborative, and student-centred learning environment," said Public Safety Minister and Solicitor-General Robert Trevors. "Our government is committed to providing infrastructure that enables our students to prepare today for tomorrow's workforce."

Trevors spoke on behalf of  Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy.

The design will connect the new expansion directly to the existing building, bringing the majority of the campus under one roof. It will include upgrades to the fire protection system as well as new spaces such as classrooms, multipurpose industrial shops, and flexible office and common areas. The work will include renovating about 425 sq. metres of the existing building and adding an additional 1,489 sq. metres.

"We echo the community's enthusiasm for the new design and much-needed expansion of our NBCC Miramichi campus," said Marilyn Luscombe, president and chief executive officer, NBCC. "The creation of multi-use trade shops and classrooms will allow the college to respond quickly to the introduction of new trades, and shifting economic trends and demands. We are a learner-centred environment and it thrills us to know that this new vision will create more common areas and study spaces where our students can think, engage, and create."

The project will make use of the existing electrical infrastructure while allowing direct connection to the main campus building. Plans also include using an energy efficient geothermal heating system. In addition, the architectural design fees were significantly reduced by re-using the base design from the Bathurst multi-trade facility at the Collège communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick.

"Our government is providing high quality infrastructure for students, while living within our means," said Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Claude Williams. "This project shows we are making investments in areas that are a priority for our government, as outlined in the Economic Development Action Plan, and we are working with our partners to realize cost-saving measures."

Construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2013 and conclude by the fall of 2014.