Weingarten, Stelmach and Horner talk tools.
John McDonald/the Gauntlet

Uni receives $97.1 million from province

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In a sexy presentation including TV screens, burgers and the Premier, a not-so-sexy announcement was made. The government announced $97.1 million to complete a digital library--that broke ground Mar. 31 2006--and to do maintenance.

The timely announcement included $37.5 million for the university to complete its digital library and just under $60 million for repairs on roofs in seven of the buildings on campus and to repair ventilation and mechanical systems at the U of C's Health Science Centre.

The roofs scheduled to be repaired are Engineering blocks A and D, Education Block and Tower, Kinesiology A, Science B and Craigie Hall.

The U of C is working on a host of projects, including the Energy. Environment. Experiential Learning building, the Urban and West Campus, the International House and the Child Development Centre. Capital funds for the projects have come from both private investors and the provincial government.

"At the same time, while we are making these important new investments, it's critical that we continue to enhance and maintain the existing infrastructure," said Alberta Advanced Education minister Doug Horner. "Our investments need to be directed at creating just the right mix of new and renewed."

Premier Ed Stelmach was on hand at the announcement and stressed that education is the future of this province. A knowledge-based economy encourages graduate students to stay in the province.

"The next step in the overall program is to commercialize a lot of research and the technology that has been done in Alberta, so that jobs continue to stay in the province of Alberta," said Stelmach.

The funding for the Taylor Family Digital Library will supplement the province's original grant of $113 million and Don and Ruth Taylor's donation of $25 million. It will include the Nickel Arts Museum, the University Press, rare collections and University Archives and will be constructed in tandem with the High Density Library, a space that will hold 60 per cent of the university's current book and journal collection.

The digital information made available by the construction of the TFDL and HDL will be accessible to post-secondary students across Alberta, not just at the U of C.

"The Digital Library will support the campus Alberta approach of addressing our PSE needs as a province," said Stelmach.

U of C president Dr. Harvey Weingarten stressed the importance of students not having to come to a physical storage facility to view a hard copy.

"Not all learning takes place in the classroom and we know that what we are doing here is creating a community," said Weingarten.

Communication and Culture student Christina Rontynen was part of the ceremony, and helped to introduce the important guests.

"When the province invests in the university, you are investing in the students and you are putting your faith and your money into our individual and collective futures," she said during the ceremony. "We are works in progress too. Thank you for helping us find our place."