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  • Writer's pictureLorna Hamilton

Investing In Lakeland College: Alberta Allocates $16 Million For Campus Revitalization


The Bentley Building. Photo Lakeland College

In a significant move to bolster Lakeland College’s mission to foster education and provide the region with skilled graduates, the Alberta government has pledged $16 million for the revitalization of the Bentley Building, a key campus hub. This generous investment aims to create safe and modern learning environments, benefiting not only the college community but the local economy as well.

Lakeland College, which was established as Alberta’s third post-secondary institution in 1913, has since grown to encompass two campuses, located in Vermilion and Lloydminster. While it holds true to its agricultural training roots the college has expanded to offer a diverse range of 50 programs, spanning from interior design to power engineering, and notably became the first institution in Canada to provide a degree program in agricultural technology.

A substantial portion of the government’s funding, a total of $13.3 million, will be dedicated to the rejuvenation of the Bentley Building, while the remaining $2.7 million will support additional capital maintenance and renewal projects at the college. This marks the first significant modernization of the Bentley Building since its inception in 1969.

“Investing in local communities encourages students to stay close to home while they develop the skills, knowledge, and competencies they need for the most in-demand jobs,” remarked Rajan Sawhney, Minister of Advanced Education. “It also benefits the local economy, as students graduate and use their talents to continue building strong and prosperous communities.”

The Bentley Building houses Lakeland College’s award-winning interior design technology and early childhood education programs, in addition to rapidly expanding human services programs. These programs are instrumental in producing graduates who fill crucial and high-demand roles supporting children, youth, seniors, at-risk families, and advocating for mental health. Notably, many graduates from these programs are women or Indigenous Peoples, contributing to the college’s diverse and inclusive student body.

Local representative Garth Rowswell, MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster-Wainwright, expressed optimism about the impact of this investment, saying, “This investment will really go a long way not just for our college community but for everyone in the region. More homegrown talent will mean more opportunity and a better quality of life for everyone in our community.”

Alice Wainwright-Stewart, president and CEO of Lakeland College, underlined the significance of creating modern and interactive learning environments. “Our thanks to the Government of Alberta for investing in the transformation of the Bentley Building, ensuring Lakeland can continue to produce skilled graduates who will go on to enhance our communities.”

The revitalized Bentley Building is set to include several innovative features, including a child development centre and labs with observation rooms, seamless access to an outdoor natural playscape lab, and a modern design studio for the award-winning interior design technology program. Furthermore, it will incorporate a smudge-safe Indigenous lounge, fostering cultural inclusivity.

This latest investment follows a series of commitments from the Alberta government to support Lakeland College’s initiatives. In 2022, the college received $993,062 in funding for the addition of 135 new seats; 24 in animal health technology and 111 in the health care aide programming. The same year, Alberta’s government allocated $106,000 to Lakeland College for the establishment of an agriculture sales and customer relations certificate program.

In 2020, Lakeland College was granted approval to offer a Bachelor of Agriculture Technology, becoming the first institution in Canada to provide a degree program in agricultural technology. Additionally, in 2022, the WHT Mead Building at the Vermilion campus reopened after a modernization project, with the Alberta government providing $17.3 million in funding in Budget 2020.

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