It’s been a long time coming, but Wednesday’s official opening of the Lambton College NOVA Chemicals Health & Research Centre was like tying a big blue ribbon around a vision finally turned into reality.
Arguably, the vision behind what now exists on property located immediately east of the Progressive Auto Sales Arena began to take shape several years ago. But it wasn’t until late in the final term of former MP Pat Davidson that core funding of $10 million from the Federal Government (followed by another $10 million from the Ontario Government) resulted in the project beginning to take shape.
As part of her remarks at the opening, Lambton College President Judith Morris recalled being contacted by Tom Thompson, director of Ontario Operations with NOVA Chemicals, who said the company wanted to be “first in line” to have its name on the building.
That lead to a $2 million gift by NOVA Chemicals, still the firm’s largest single donation related to education.
Lambton County also committed $5 million to the project, which was funded through the Envision Tomorrow Capital Campaign, established by the Lambton College Foundation in 2015.
With construction now finished and students and faculty actively putting this 60,000-square-foot world-class facility to good use, it was time for the official opening, which was attended by donors, industry partners, health sciences students, and community supporters of the College.
Designed to accommodate health sciences programming, interdisciplinary learning, and applied research, the new building boasts a 40-bed nursing lab, two intensive care unit rooms, two simulated advanced care suites, three active learning classrooms, a 140-seat amphitheatre, paramedic lab, and various advanced technology simulation training spaces.
“(This facility) has changed the dynamic of our institution,” said Morris. “We’ve always provided outstanding health programs, and now our evolving teaching methodologies, coupled with our world-class training facilities will directly contribute to the provision of highly qualified professionals: impacting the future of the healthcare industry.”
Designed by Architects Tillmann Ruth Robinson, the Centre was intentionally constructed to be open and welcoming, providing a first-hand opportunity to showcase the education and training taking place throughout the facility.
NOVA Chemicals’ Thompson said the support for the Centre “is a natural extension of our commitment to investing in the well-being of our communities.”
Thompson said NOVA Chemicals views working with the College as a fundamental and ongoing goal.
“We share the belief that building healthy communities can start with inspiring and engaging youth and the impact this facility will have on our next generation will no doubt be significant,” he said.
Additional contributions from industry and community partners helped to bring the project to full completion and are now displayed on a newly unveiled donor wall within the building.