Conestoga news

June 6, 2006 10:57 AM

Businesses, Foundations, Individuals Support Conestoga Growth Plans

More than $1.4 million has been pledged so far by businesses, foundations, organizations and individuals to support Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in moving forward with its plans to establish a new, larger Waterloo campus dedicated primarily to enhancing the amount and scope of skilled trades education in order to address current and projected critical skills shortages in the region.

“Conestoga is committed to this project,” says President John Tibbits. “We will work hard with our partners and supporters in the community to make it a successful venture, because our growth is essential and indispensable when it comes to producing enough graduates with the skills needed to ensure continued productivity and economic prosperity.”

Conestoga has purchased a former secondary school in Waterloo. Initial renovations are in progress to prepare the facility for the relocation and expansion of Conestoga programs in construction-related trades, such as plumbing, carpentry and electrician, as well as expansion of programs in the hospitality industry. Activity should begin at the new location in the fall of 2006.

Eventually, the new campus will also accommodate preparatory skills programs, which ready participants for entry to employment or further education, and a large array of evening and weekend continuing education courses for adult learners.

Pledges and proceeds to the New Waterloo Project have come from:
• Dakon Construction Ltd., commercial and industrial construction contractors;
• Fackoury’s Building Supplies, suppliers of a diversified product line of materials for interior and exterior building infrastructure and finishing;
• Ian Cook, of Cook Homes, a company noted for development and construction of residential communities, attuned to family and environmental factors;
• Jamesway Construction Group, a provider of design and construction services and solutions, from consulting and planning through to project completion;
• M&M Meat Shops, the well known national chain of specialty frozen food stores;
• Sleeman Breweries Ltd., one of the fastest growing premium brewers in North America;
• The Economical Insurance Group, one of Canada’s largest property and casualty insurers;
• The Lyle S. Hallman Foundation, a charitable endowment fund with a strong interest in community development through education;
• The MerSynergy Charitable Foundation, a foundation that receives and distributes charitable gifts in furtherance of community development initiatives;
• The Walter Fedy Partnership, a full-service architectural and engineering firm in all aspects of project development and management;
• The Yves Landry Foundation, a foundation active in the support, encouragement and promotion of efforts to reduce current and future skills shortages;
• Conestoga Golf Classic (proceeds from the 2005 event); and
• Alumni, friends, faculty and staff of Conestoga.

These funds are being used for the preparation and renovation of the facility for its initial use by Conestoga, as well as for the acquisition of learning equipment and resources to be used in program delivery.

“In keeping with our ‘neighbour helping neighbour’ philosophy, The Economical Insurance Group is pleased to support youth and education in our community,” says Noel Walpole, CEO of the Waterloo-based company. “We are truly excited about the impact this new Construction Skills Education Centre will have on the future of our youth and adult learners for generations to come.”

The support generated so far is part of an ambitious $7,000,000 campaign associated with the Waterloo expansion. The new location allows Conestoga to grow its operations in Waterloo by at least 58 per cent immediately. The facility is on 12 acres, now provides 123,000 sq. ft. of space and can eventually be expanded to as much as 250,000 sq. ft.

“Donors in our community are stepping forward to make the promise of this exciting new campus a reality,” says Ingrid Town, Conestoga’s Executive Director of Development and Alumni Relations. “In helping Conestoga address skills shortages, these individuals, corporations and foundations are making a profound and lasting contribution to higher education in our community.”

CONTACT: Ingrid Town, 519-748-5220, ext. 3490,