Construction is underway at Niagara College’s Welland Campus as the new Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre takes shape. The new building is expected to be completed in spring 2016.
An artist’s rendering of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre. The new Centre, adjoining the Rankin Technology Centre, was designed to complement the recent newer construction at the Welland Campus.
Advanced manufacturers in the Niagara region will soon have a dedicated space to innovate, compete and create new jobs – and it is steadily taking shape at Niagara College.
The construction of Niagara College’s Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre, which broke ground in May 2015, continues on schedule at the College’s Welland Campus.
“Niagara College is well known for its strong focus in supporting economic development. Our expertise in applied research and ensuring we provide highly skilled graduates for the marketplace is something we are very proud of,” said College president Dan Patterson. “Our new Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be a great example of supporting small- and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises who are part of the life-blood of a strong regional economy. I am confident that this new initiative will reinforce our links to industry and our commitment to innovation.”
Advanced manufacturing innovation projects began at the College in 2011. Faculty and student research teams work with small- and medium-sized manufacturers – there are more than 850 in Niagara alone – to innovate and solve operational challenges, save on production costs and reduce production time by providing them access to leading-edge equipment and state-of-the-art research facilities, as well as the expertise and business services of faculty and students.
The addition of the new 15,000-square-foot facility is expected to significantly enhance the College’s capacity for applied research projects. On its ground floor, the Centre will include specialized labs with 3D printers, scanners and other equipment; incubation space for industry partners; as well as office space and lab space for staff and student scientists, and researchers. Its top floor will house the College’s Research and Innovation division offices, as well as its digital media and web solutions group; the College’s entrepreneurship hub, NC TakeOff; and space for meeting and conferences.
The Centre was designed by Architects Tillmann Ruth Robinson. Its general contractor is DeFaveri Construction Inc., and work includes several Niagara-based companies (such as project manager consultant Urban and Environmental Management; and subcontractors VanBoxmeer and Stranges, Ecco Electric Limited, Dufferin Concrete, Salit Steel, SilverLine Group, NCCI, and DBN Drywall and Acoustics).
Work on the building’s foundations, underground electrical, elevator pit and a stair foundation have been completed. Structural steel work, which began in August, is scheduled to be finished by mid-October; and work on the building, roof, walls, windows and doors that is currently underway is expected to wrap up by the end of the year. Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of March 2016.
The development of the new centre was supported by a $4.2-million provincial investment, as well as a $1.2-million donation from the Walker family and its Niagara-based Walker Industries Holdings Limited – the College’s largest-ever corporate donation.
The Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre is a key element of Niagara College’s $55-million Capital Vision 2016 expansion project, which will provide new and expanded facilities at the Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake campuses.