Agreement will meet polytechnic’s growth needs for the next century
NAIT’s Main Campus footprint will almost double in size with the announcement of a deal with the city to acquire land on the Blatchford site and the former Westwood Transit Garage for growth and consolidation.
“This will be transformational for NAIT, for our students and for our city, serving our land needs well into the future,” says president and CEO, Dr. Glenn Feltham. “This will allow us to fulfill our vision and be part of one of the most progressive, vibrant and exciting communities in Canada.”
The land includes 13.27 hectares (32.79 acres) on the Blatchford development site to the west of Main Campus at Princess Elizabeth Avenue and 109 Street, along with an option to purchase another 3.23 hectares (eight acres) to the southwest. The transit garage property north of Main Campus is about 4.8 hectares (11.89 acres).
“This will be transformational for NAIT, for our students and for our city, serving our land needs well into the future.”
In all, this will add 21.5 hectares (53 acres) to NAIT’s current land.
“This is a huge step forward for Blatchford, for NAIT, and for the City of Edmonton,” says Mayor Don Iveson. “With NAIT expanding and anchoring our Innovation Corridor at the east end of the new Blatchford neighbourhood, they can bring their expertise in academics and alternative energy to enhance student and resident experiences there.”
Iveson sees the polytechnic as a contributor to not only the success of the neighbourhood, but to the future success of Edmonton itself. "When institutes of higher education grow and thrive, cities that contain them grow and thrive, too."
A long-term vision
The new land will allow NAIT to plan for future growth and meet the needs of students and industry partners for years to come, says Feltham. A student residence is expected to be one of the first developments on the Blatchford site. A skills centre is in the early planning stage for the Westwood land.
NAIT’s long-term vision includes consolidating all programs at Main Campus except for those that require large open spaces, such as Crane and Hoisting, which will remain at the Spruce Grove campus.
When NAIT opened in 1963, it had nine buildings. Today, it has 29 buildings across several campuses. A long-term plan to consolidate on Main Campus will significantly enhance students’ experience and allow NAIT to operate more efficiently while being an integral part of a vibrant, sustainable community, says Feltham.
A refreshed and updated campus development plan is in the works and should be ready by fall, he adds.
The Blatchford community will be home to about 30,000 residents once it is fully built. The first stage of residential housing will be along the west side of the community, and is currently being sold to builders.