Red River College has a major new downtown development in the works, north of its Princess Street campus.

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This article was published 8/4/2017 (1699 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Red River College has a major new downtown development in the works, north of its Princess Street campus.

A $90-million building — which is being referred to as the "innovation centre" — is planned for the northwest corner of Elgin Avenue and Princess Street.

College president Paul Vogt confirmed the new building is well along in the planning process but he said he could not disclose details until federal government funding has been finalized.

Vogt said he would not be talking about it were he not confident the project will proceed.

The college has been buying properties on the site, including the Metro Motors and Scott Fruit buildings on Elgin Street, across the road from the north end of its Princess Street campus.

"It is a significant project but our only restraint is that we have to preserve the ability of our main funders to schedule the announcement and all the details," Vogt said.

Vogt has been dropping hints about the development for a few weeks including at Friday’s opening of the college’s expanding Ace Project Space, a partnership with North Forge Technology Exchange, at the community development organization’s 321 McDermot Ave. location. The successful outreach program places groups of four or five RRC students with startup entrepreneurs where they earn school credits while helping to launch businesses.

"This is a major step forward for the future of Red River College," Vogt said at the official opening.

"I will give a hint at this point. What you see today, and when you hear about what is going to happen in the Ace Space and the partnership with North Forge... just keep it in mind for the next month. This is just the start. We are not done yet. We have bigger things down the road."

Vogt would not share any details about the size or look of the "innovation centre," but hinted it is expected to be fully launched within the next year.

That development will come on the heels of the opening of the $67-million, 100,000-square-foot, Skilled Trades and Technology Centre at the college’s Notre Dame campus, which is scheduled to be opened and fully commissioned by the fall of 2018.

Vogt said the college is also about to formally announce a major new capital campaign where it will look to raise some of the money for the Innovation Centre. He would not say what the target is but that it would be less than $100 million.

He said the building will house more programs that include the same kind of intense collaborations with the private sector and outside organizations that take place at the Ace Project.  

"What we are trying to say is that this approach to education is the future of the college," he said. "The actual program content (that will be delivered at the innovation centre) will be similar to this on a larger scale. The approach to teaching and partnerships is the key element here."

Martin Cash

Martin Cash

Martin Cash has been writing a column and business news at the Free Press since 1989. Over those years he’s written through a number of business cycles and the rise and fall (and rise) in fortunes of many local businesses.