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Northern Lakes College breaks ground on new High Prairie campus

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Northern Lakes College students in High Prairie are about two years away from having a new consolidated campus. Ground was officially broken on the facility Monday, with construction set to start in the spring of 2019.

Right now, students attend classes in three separate campus locations. MLA for Lesser Slave Lake and former NLC licensed practical nurse instructor Danielle Larivee says she’s been pushing for the consolidated campus for two years, and it was emotional for her to get shovels in the ground.

“Not everybody can afford to leave behind all of their family and move to the city for an education, and when they do they often don’t come back, so now we have students here in a high-quality facility about to be built that will receive the kind of education that they deserve.”

The campus is pitched as a modern facility with purpose-built learning space and innovative training for apprentices. Its student resources like health and financial aid services will also be centralized.

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Minister of Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt was on hand for the groundbreaking. He echoes Larivee’s sentiment about the need for more access to education in rural areas.

“Every Albertan deserves to have access to a high-quality post-secondary education regardless of where they live, and so we need to have top quality infrastructure here in High Prairie to serve the students of the region.”

The provincial government is spending $21.6 million on the new campus, which is expected to serve around 225 students when it opens. It’s located on the site of the old Central Campus and is hoped to be open in the fall of 2020.

The province expects construction to create around 300 jobs and to generate almost $47 million for the local economy. A recent study done by Northern Lakes College found that the college, its students and alumni added $104.7 million the economy in 2015-2016.

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