Conestoga news

January 3, 2024 6:19 PM

Second phase gets underway at skilled trades campus on Reuter Drive

Work is underway on the second phase of the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus in Cambridge.

Skilled Trades Centre.jpg
Work is underway on the second phase of the Conestoga Skilled Trades Campus in Cambridge. The new 220,000 sq. ft. building is expected to open in 2026, making the campus the largest, most modern trades training facility in Canada. Rendering courtesy of Diamond Schmitt Architects.

The first phase of the Cambridge - Reuter Drive campus welcomed students in 2022. The second is expected to open its doors in September 2026. When finished, the campus will be the largest, most modern trades training facility in Canada and serve as a showcase for the skilled trades.

The new building will be 220,000 sq. ft. and home to a variety of trades in a purpose-designed space like the first.

“The vision of having this comprehensive trades building is exciting,” said Suzanne Moyer, dean of the School of Trades & Apprenticeship. And, Moyer added, it’s a testament to Conestoga’s mission to help address the critical need for skilled tradespeople in Ontario.

There is also a focus on making the building as sustainable as possible from the ground up - starting with geothermal energy to offset heating and cooling costs to the use of renewable materials.

The robust building envelope will require less energy to operate, said Tim Schill, vice-president of Facilities and Capital Development. These intentional choices will work together to create a “climate-positive” building.

Remaining trades programs at other Conestoga sites will move to the new building: both post-secondary and apprenticeship motive power trades programs from Guelph and post-secondary carpentry programs from the Dearborn site in Waterloo to create a comprehensive trades campus at the 41-acre Reuter Drive property next to Highway 401.

Woodworking will stay at the Doon campus, brick and stone masonry in Waterloo, and electrical utilities powerline training in Ingersoll.

Along with learning spaces, the new building will feature other amenities for students, including esports and recreational facilities. So far, the parking lots have been built and geothermal drilling has begun.

The first building at Reuter Drive covers 322,000 sq. ft. -- half of that occupied by shops and labs specifically designed for trades education and training. A grand opening was held in early November 2023, with students, employees, and industry and community friends and partners joining the celebration. The labs and shops are the building’s highlight.

“They’re impressive and we have a lot of new equipment and a lot of space to move,” Moyer said.

The building features a cafeteria and event space that’s invaluable for gatherings such as job fairs, as well as everything students need onsite, including a library, bookstore, student services office, and study and lounge spaces.

The two buildings will be joined by a covered walkway and the space around will incorporate Indigenous features and native plants.

Conestoga is a provincial leader in trades and apprenticeship training to serve industry needs and the growing community. Comprehensive programming includes a wide range of post-secondary trades programs that provide pathways to employment in skilled trades careers as well as pre-apprenticeship training and in-school training for apprentices.

For more information, visit the School of Trades & Apprenticeship.