STELLARTON, N.S. – The new NSCC Pictou Campus trades and innovation centre has been named in honour of former Pictou Centre MLA and Nova Scotia premier, Dr. John Hamm.
Under Hamm’s leadership, the college received a landmark investment of $123 million in 2003 which was described at Friday’s event as a catalyst for growth and a game-changer for the community college.
“This multi-million-dollar project created more than 100 good paying jobs during the construction of a new world-class learning environment,” said Central Nova MP Sean Fraser who spoke at the event. “More importantly, the students who walk these halls today will move into good paying and high demand jobs.
“Our shared vision is a more skilled workforce who can stay and work right here in Pictou County.”
There was a large crowd at the Stellarton campus for the official opening of the centre, first used by students in 2017. The Hon. Dr. John F. Hamm Trades & Innovation Centre provides the campus with a specialized training space for students enrolled in carpentry, cabinetry, motor-vehicle repair and heavy-duty equipment programs.
The new centre also provides a modern, high performance shop space. Envisioned as an innovation hub, the 28,000-sq.-ft. building features specialized training space that will motivate cross-collaboration among skilled-trades students. It’s anticipated that, in addition to helping instill industry-ready skills, the new facility will boost entrepreneurship activity in the area by serving as a specialized trades and applied research space for the broader community.
Construction of the Dr. John F. Hamm Trades & Innovation Centre was initiated through a $15.2-million investment – $6.9 million from the federal government and $8.3 from the provincial government – announced in 2016. The funds were directed through the Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund (SIF), a federal-provincial partnership that funds modernization and sustainability improvements at post secondary-based research facilities.
“The Hamm government, and the current governments – both federal and provincial – have shown a deep appreciation for the need to properly equip our province with a skilled and educated workforce,” NSCC president Don Bureaux told those on hand. “The 2003 investment modernized infrastructure and transformed NSCC into the economic and social catalyst it has become and enhanced the college with continued investments like those recognized today. We hope that students who study in this new facility are encouraged by Dr. Hamm’s vision for Nova Scotia and are inspired by his conviction in the unlimited power of education.”
Hamm, a native of Pictou County, practised as a rural general practitioner in his community for 30 years. He entered provincial politics in 1993 as MLA for Pictou Centre. He served as Nova Scotia’s premier from 1999 to 2006.
The original provincial investment modernized college infrastructure at its campuses throughout Nova Scotia. This added space for an additional 2,500 students, a 25-per-cent increase in terms of new seats and new opportunities for all those wishing to enhance their education.
The investment also realized a new, state-of-the-art campus on the Dartmouth waterfront, a site that has become a showcase for sustainability.