SACKVILLE (GNB) – The provincial and federal governments have announced a combined $36 million investment in Mount Allison University.

The provincial government is contributing $10 million for programming while the federal government is contributing $26 million for retrofits to the university’s Ralph Pickard Bell Library and Archives.

The renovated building will offer a new hub for innovation and learning and deliver spaces and resources that enhance interdisciplinary programming to support the student experience. It will provide opportunities for businesses and employers to connect with students and faculty, as well as community members.

“This investment will assist Mount Allison University in meeting the needs of the labour market for highly employable graduates who are skilled in interdisciplinary collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said Post-Secondary Education Training and Labour Minister Trevor Holder. “This is an important development for our post-secondary institutions and future graduates.”

The renovated facility will continue to hold the library’s collections, university archives, research services and study space. Enhancements will include digital teaching and learning resources, audio-visual media labs and broadcasting studios, an incubator space for student-led startups, community spaces and an Indigenous knowledge space.

The federal funding comes from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.

“Mount Allison University attracts the best and brightest students from all over the world with its unique small-town student experience and dedicated faculty staff,” said federal Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities Minister Dominic LeBlanc. “Repurposing the Ralph Pickard Bell Library and breezeway into a hub for innovation and learning will provide Mount Allison students opportunities for career development, research, entrepreneurship and collaboration – things which are key to their future success. Today’s investment is an investment in the next generation of Canadian leaders and professionals.”

Total cost of the project is estimated at $65 million. Mount Allison will raise the remainder of project costs through a combination of philanthropic support and operational funding.

“These investments by the Government of Canada and the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training, and Labour are a critical component of this landmark library project,” said Mount Allison president Jean-Paul Boudreau. “Receiving the largest public sector gift in the university’s history means we can forge ahead on an innovative project that will transform the heart of our campus and significantly enhance our academic mission, as well as the student experience.”

The facility will be designed and built using the university’s carbon footprint reduction principles.