News / Calgary

SAIT steps into the next century with new facilities

Five new facilities were officially launched on Wednesday, just weeks ahead of the institution’s 101st birthday

Charlene Lipoth (left), Jake DeBelser and Brad Donaldson officially launched SAIT's new Career Exploration Centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

Jennifer Friesen/For Metro / Calgary Freelance

Charlene Lipoth (left), Jake DeBelser and Brad Donaldson officially launched SAIT's new Career Exploration Centre with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday.

When Charlene Lipoth first brought her Grade 8 students into the new Career Exploration Centre at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), the entire class was buzzing.

“It was one of those ‘wow’ moments,” said the teacher from Our Lady Queen of Peace School. “You could just feel the buzz because they were exploring everything and racing to open up their instructions, and you don’t typically see kids excited to open up their instructions for math.”

The Career Exploration Centre offers a hands-on centre for Grade 8 and 9 students to try the latest technologies and tools to give them a chance to explore future career options – and it’s just one of five new facilities SAIT launched on Wednesday.

The announcement came just in time for SAIT’s 101st anniversary in October and will provide immediate access to SAIT programs to hundreds of new students, according to SAIT president and CEO Dr. David Ross.

Charlene Lipoth (left) from Our Lady Queen of Peace School, and Brad Donaldson, SAIT vice president, Academic, open the door to SAIT's new Career Exploration Centre for student Jake DeBelser.

JENNIFER FRIESEN/FOR METRO

Charlene Lipoth (left) from Our Lady Queen of Peace School, and Brad Donaldson, SAIT vice president, Academic, open the door to SAIT's new Career Exploration Centre for student Jake DeBelser.

Ross added that the new facilities feature state-of- the-art technologies and in order to keep the school and its students ready for the demands of the future.

“We understand that when you make investments like this, they can’t be here today and gone tomorrow,” he said. “You’re very careful when you have scarce resources that you put it into a place where you have the most students, the most impact. These facilities that you see today are meant to last the test of time. They’re not about catch-up, they’re about us going forward.”

The other four new facilities are: the Crane and Ironworker Facility, located on a 7.75 acre lot in Calgary’s southeast, which houses the largest array of crane simulators in North America to train crane operators and ironworkers; the Gene Haas Foundation CNC Labs, a million-dollar computer machining lab, which is vital in the aerospace, oil and gas, transportation and manufacturing industries; the Tastemarket by SAIT, which is SAIT’s second downtown culinary campus geared toward entrepreneurship; and the Green Building Technologies Lab and Demonstration Centre, which supports green technologies, research and study.

It has been engineered to produce as much energy as it consumes, making it Calgary’s first net-zero commercial building.

MLA Calgary-Hawkwood Michael Connolly joined Wednesday’s launch, and said he believes the new facilities will not only benefit SAIT students, but Alberta’s economy as well.

“These facilities will help to inspire and unleash student’s imagination and innovation, while strengthening our economy by helping the province take the next step towards a modern and more diversified future,” he said. “Our government will continue to fund education and make it more affordable, for we know the future of our students and our province depends on it.”

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