"The University College of the North is unique within Manitoba and the dual campuses in The Pas and Thompson have been specially designed to meet the education and training needs of Aboriginal and northern students," McGifford said. "I’m pleased to unveil the schematic design for The Pas campus which will enhance educational opportunities for students."
The schematic design includes a 24-unit, on-campus housing development for students and their families as well as enhanced new facilities that will meet the long-term needs of key academic programs, the minister said.
"We are excited about the plans for the campus in The Pas. We are now one step closer to providing expanded educational opportunities that Aboriginal and northern people both want and deserve," said Dr. Denise K. Henning, president and vice-chancellor, University College of the North.
"UCN is an important partof our community and we are pleased to see the province finalize this investment in the facility," said The Pas Mayor Herb Jaques. "The new construction projects, renovations and expanded services combined will help to meet the needs of Aboriginal and northern residents for many years into the future."
The expansion includes:
· A 13,500-square-foot library expansion to be named in honour of long-time member of the legislative assembly Oscar Lathlin. It will meet university accreditation levels as a resource and teaching library to serve the two main campuses and 12 regional centres across the north.
· A new 6,500-square-foot child-care facility to accommodate up to 75 children.
· A 4,500-square-foot redeveloped student service centre to provide a one-stop shop for student services such as enrolment, program information, counselling and guidance.
· An Aboriginal centre offering culturally appropriate assistance.
· A student lounge.
· Centralized administrative offices.
"Creating UCN to better serve the education and training needs of northern and Aboriginal Manitobans was a lifelong dream of Oscar’s and we are very pleased to build on his legacy with the expansion of UCN’s campus in The Pas," McGifford said. "This dynamic post-secondary institution will help us make strides toward building our future workforce as well as enhancing the economic and social well-being of the region."
"My Dad was a believer that everyone should have access to a higher education without having to leave their community and he truly felt an education leads to a healthy community," said Amanda Lathlin. "My family is honoured and touched this library will share his name. His devotion to this community will live on and will be passed on to all who use this facility."
The minister noted the new campus will incorporate natural materials and shapes that are representative of Aboriginal culture. Construction and renovations are scheduled to begin this fall with completion expected in September 2012.