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CAT officially opens

For those with classes in the shiny newness that is the CAT Building, there was a great hustle and bustle on the ground floor last week. The event? The official grand opening of the Centre for Applied Technology.

A highlight of the event was the announcement by the NAIT Students’ Association of an historic donation of $5 million to the institution. The donation, which was approved by a student referendum this spring, is the largest donation in NAIT’s history. The donation will have wide-ranging impact on campus, having contributed funds towards the CAT building, as well as providing funding to bring Smart Card technology to the school, centralize NAITSA’s offices in a new location, and more.

The new Centre for Applied Technology was a huge step forward for NAIT, with the building adding over 2,500 seats worth of classroom space, as well as 45 labs and simulation rooms. For many of the attendants, ranging from government officials to staff, students, and alumni, this was an excellent chance to see for themselves the results of the largest capital project in NAIT’s history.

The historic event, presented by NAIT alumnus Josh Classen of CTV News, opened with the recognition and acknowledgment that NAIT lies on Treaty 6 territory and a special performance of an honour song by the Eagle Sky dancers and singers.

Following the opening performance, Josh regaled the crowd with memories of his time at NAIT, as well as the open field that once stood where CAT stands now. He then ceded the floor to NAIT’s President, CEO and in his own words “Cheerleader in Chief” Dr. Glenn Feltham, who took the opportunity to thank the huge number of people who helped make the new building a reality, to share the impact that CAT will have on student success, as well his vision for NAIT’s growth in the future.

The presentation continued with the Chair of NAIT’s Board of Governors, Brent Hesje, giving the crowd the highlights of the building statistics, before revealing the newest showcase video of the CAT building. He then gave a live update of NAIT’s Essential Campaign, which has raised over $88 million to date.

Alberta’s Minister for Advanced Education Marlin Schmidt then took the stage to congratulate NAIT for completing one of the largest post-secondary buildings in Canada. Minister Schmidt acknowledged the value and quality of the education NAIT gives to students, education they will need to continue to grow Alberta’s economy. Minister Schmidt told the crowd about his firsthand knowledge of NAIT’s value, as his father is a NAIT graduate. He also took the opportunity to let the crowd know about the continuation of the NDP’s tuition freeze for a third year.

And with that, the crowd dispersed to explore the magnificence that is the new Centre for Applied Technology. The food court was in full swing, providing the guests with samples of the burgers, pizza and rosemary fries, with NAITSA providing a dessert spread in the open lounge on the second floor. Simulation labs were opened to display the student experience in the new facility, showing all attendants the excitement of the hands-on learning that NAIT is proud to offer.

It doesn’t take much to find NAIT grads around you driving Alberta’s economy forward, and with CAT now fully operational, NAIT will continue to grow to meet the future demands of industry and entrepreneurship.

– Michael MacComb

Image from NAIT.

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