The future of Red River College’s Innovation Centre is still up in the air.
The college announced recently it has put construction of the 100,000 sq/ft building on hold.
The main issues stem from the timeline for completion given by the federal government. Though a funding agreement wasn’t officially put in place until June 2017, the government expects construction to be completed by Nov. 30, 2018.
The college says that timeline is unreasonable because of the amount of complex work that is going into the construction. RRC President Paul Vogt says they have reached out to Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains to discuss a possible extension but haven’t heard back.
Vogt is worried the feds will pull their portion of the funding if the college doesn’t meet the construction deadline.
“We’ll be anxious until we hear that we have a resolution and can get on the phone with our builder and give them the green light again,” Vogt said to reporters after the Manitoba Chamber Luncheon on Friday. “We’re concerned and we’ll remain concerned until we know what’s going on.”
The project costs $95.4 million in total and the federal government agreed to chip in $40.6 million.
“I’m hopeful we can reach a resolution because the solutions are there and they’re not difficult to get to,” Vogt said. “With that said, until we do get word, I’ll remain very anxious about it.”
Winnipeg MP Jim Carr spoke to reporters after the Chamber Luncheon as well. He couldn’t provide much clarification and didn’t want to speak on behalf of Minister Bains, but he did say internal discussions within the government are ongoing.
“I care a lot about this project and have been advocating on behalf of it and we continue to look into options that might be available,” Carr said. “We’re looking at what is possible under these circumstances.”
RRC said in a statement released earlier this week that the Innovation Centre – which will be located at 319 Elgin Street – would be an extension of their Exchange District campus and could bring approximately 1,200 students and staff to the college.
The college says once an extension is granted or a suitable solution is reached, construction will resume.