Conestoga news

May 12, 2009 2:34 PM

Gala Event Marks Opening of Conestoga's Masonry Centre

More than 150 industry leaders, educators and government officials gathered in Waterloo on May 5 to celebrate the official opening of the Conestoga/Ontario Masonry Training Centre, located next to the Waterloo campus of Conestoga College Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning.

The 10,000 sq. ft. facility is a free-standing training centre established through a partnership between Conestoga and the Ontario Masonry Contractors Association (OMCA). The total value of the project is almost $3 million, which includes significant in-kind donations of materials, supplies and expertise from the masonry industry.

Conestoga currently offers a number of training programs and opportunities at the new centre, from fundamental instruction in masonry and construction techniques to a full apprenticeship program in brick and stone mason.

As the scope and activities of the Masonry Training Centre grow to meet the industrys future need for skilled tradespeople, instruction will be in all three of the major masonry areas: industrial/commercial/institutional; residential and heritage.

This is a phenomenal partnership, Conestoga President John Tibbits told the gathering. It involves support and involvement from both contractors and unions. We want this facility to be a key part of Conestoga's centre of excellence in the construction trades.

OMCA President Ron Santin added, This project makes a statement about how important trades training is, and how we are willing to act on our beliefs. He added that the Waterloo centre is a major boon to masonry training in the province, as a dedicated facility that complements existing training centres in Mississauga and Ottawa.

Also addressing the assembly and praising the Conestoga-OMCA partnership were Kitchener-Waterloo MPP Elizabeth Witmer and Brenda Halloran, Mayor of Waterloo.

Master contractor and television personality Mike Holmes also sent his congratulations via a video presentation.

A special honour went to retired mason Dick Kappeler, who offered his own services as project manager on an entirely volunteer basis. In recognition of his efforts, the main part of the facility has been named the Gerhard (Dick) Kappeler Training Hall. In addition, a masonry training endowed bursary fund will be set up in his name, with a potential total funded value of $200,000.

Contact: Andre Beaudry, 519-748-5220, ext. 2235,