Conestoga news

July 23, 2007 8:21 AM

New Masonry Centre Announced for Conestoga in Waterloo

A partnership between Conestoga College and the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association (OMCA) will result in the construction of a new 10,000 sq. ft. centre devoted to masonry training, to be located next to the College’s campus in Waterloo.

Construction will begin this summer, with scheduled initial use in early 2008, in time to welcome the first cohort of masonry apprentices for training. These apprentices will pursue their education under curriculum developed in consultation with industry by the Ontario Masonry Training Centre (OMTC), which is based in Mississauga and affiliated with the OMCA. As part of that education, they will work under professional supervision to help complete the finishing work on the structure by June 2008.

The expectation is that annual enrolment will be approximately 100, in both apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Eventually, instruction will be in all three of the major masonry areas - industrial/commercial/institutional, residential and heritage.

Aiding in the development of this project is a contribution of more than $800,000 by the OMCA. Many of the building materials to be used in construction of the facility will be provided as in-kind donations from suppliers.

In addition, Kitchener Centre MPP John Milloy announced to a gathering of industry, association and College representatives on July 19 that the Government of Ontario, through its Skills Training Infrastructure Program (STIP), will provide funding of $246,000, which will cover a major portion of the cost of obtaining training equipment for the new masonry centre. For fiscal 2007-2008, the provincial government has established $25 million in available STIP funding for equipment purchases associated with new or expanded occupational, trade and apprenticeship training in Ontario.

An interesting feature of the building will be its incorporation of historical elements of masonry as well as various masonry techniques. The building will combine palettes of brick, architectural block and glass block, making use of simple forms and natural lighting to produce dramatic effects. As well, the structure and construction methods at various locations in the centre will be exposed to view, enabling the facility to be used as a learning tool.

The new masonry training centre will augment other facilities and programs at the Waterloo campus associated with the specialized centre of excellence in the construction trades being developed by Conestoga as one of three key areas for the campus - the others being hospitality/culinary programs and college access/academic skills development programs.

An architect’s rendition of the new masonry centre is attached.

CONTACT: Greg White, 519-748-5220, ext. 3831