Assiniboine College is eager to get started on their Prairie Innovation build project on the North Hill Campus in Brandon.

Thus far they've raised $23 million themselves, have a $90 million commitment from the Province of Manitoba, but are still waiting for confirmation on a $40 million grant from the Federal Government.

"We really need the $40 million investment from the government of Canada," shares CEO & President of Assiniboine College, Mark Frison. "That's really the last piece that we're waiting on. Architectural drawings are coming along, and we should have complete drawings this summer."

The Prairie Innovation Centre for Sustainable Agriculture will instruct students in numerous facets of the ag industry, including ag research, innovation, technology, mechatronics, just to name a few.

The future outlook for filling ag related jobs is looking bleak, forecasting one in three jobs will remain unfilled in this industry by 2029.  

Frison says once the funding is in place and the architectural plans are complete, they'll be able to tender out, and then the construction will begin.

The current building that facilitates the culinary arts, trades and technology on the North Hill campus in Brandon will see both renovations and expansions.  "It is the renovation of that existing building, but it will require some additional space to accommodate some labs, so while we'll be reusing large portions of what's inside we'll also have some new space attached to it."

Conversations continue with the federal government on a regular basis, "but the sooner the better," adds Frison.  "We're certainly looking at what options are there.  Usually with these projects you ensure that all the funding is secured to make sure you can get through it. But we will have to start examining options soon as we're getting to the point where it's time for work to begin."

"We've been working on this particular version since 2017," he adds.

If all goes according to plan the Prairie Innovation Centre is expected to be welcoming students in September of 2027.  The facility will increase the number of Ag-related graduates from approximately 300 each year to about 900 annually.