The Niagara News is the community newspaper of Niagara College located in Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada. It is created and produced by the students of the Niagara College Journalism program.
By SAM JANJAC Staff Writer Niagara College received its largest corporate donation of $1.2 million from Walker Industries in April and plans to use it towards the Capital Vision 2016, a campaign which began with the construction of the Walker Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre this spring. Construction of the new 15,000-square-foot Innovation Centre, at the Welland campus, began in mid-May. Demolition and excavation have been completed, concrete has been poured and mechanical and electrical work are well underway. Scheduled completion is spring 2016. The donation came from the Walker family, the firm’s shareholders. The building is named after them in recognition of the generous sponsorship. “Investing in the Innovation Centre is a natural thing for us to do,” said John Fisher, president and chief executive officer of Walker Industries. The company has had a long-standing relationship with the college and hopes “to strengthen” that relationship through the future with the new centre. “The corporate gift is a natural extension and furthers our relationship with Niagara,” said Fisher. Having hired and employed Niagara College graduates in the past, Walker Industries forecasts an ongoing requirement for students with a whole range of technical skills that Niagara provides. There will be designated space in the building for the college to rent out to local businesses. Marc Nantel, associate vice-president of Research and Innovation at Niagara, said, “Forty per cent of it will be rentable for industry partners.” The partners will be able to get help from Niagara College students for creating new things for their companies.” The Advanced Manufacturing Innovation Centre will be specializing in engineering design, 3D digital scanning technology, lean manufacturing processes as well as additive manufacturing. Nantel said he is “proud of everyone who helped get funding and designed the building.” The new Innovation Centre will be adjacent to the current Rankin Technology Centre but will be affecting few other areas. Ralph Scholz, the college’s director of Facilities Management Services, said, “To accommodate construction, the building entrance to the TC77 area is closed for the entirety of construction.” The parking lots are not affected by construction and “steps are in place to notify our students, staff and visitors of any temporary changes in access that may arise,” he said.