New digs delayed

Ongoing construction prevents PGI opening on original schedule

James Hiebert & David Driedger         

The grand opening of the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute (PGI) at the Exchange District Campus, originally scheduled to open in time for the 2011-2012 school year has been delayed until May 2012 due to what college officials say are “unforeseen challenges.”

This means that the Culinary and Hospitality programs’ relocation to the downtown campus as well as the opening of the college’s first residence will be postponed.

RRC President Stephanie Forsyth wrote in her Update to the College Community in April that “due to unforeseen challenges with this major heritage restoration project the completion date for the Paterson GlobalFoods Institute has been pushed back to early 2012. As a result, Culinary and Hospitality programs will not be starting up at PGI until May 2012.”

Construction of the PGI began in 2009. The $27 million redevelopment of the Union Bank Tower, Western Canada’s oldest skyscraper and national historic site, is supported by the three levels of government, as well as the Winnipeg Foundation, CentreVenture, Paterson GlobalFoods, and The Paterson Foundation. When complete, the PGI will house the Culinary and Hospitality programs, student-run restaurants, and will feature a residence for RRCstudents with 104 rooms.

The delay affects those in the Culinary and Hospitality programs and their plans for the current school year. Despite the programs’ postponed relocation, Amy Lynn Losics, the Hospitality coordinator, said that it wouldn’t negatively impact the way the programs are delivered. “Everything’s continuing as it has in past years until at least the end of April. The fall and winter terms will be at Notre Dame.”

John Reimers, the chairperson of the Hospitality department, said that the postponement will not have a negative impact on the services his department provides at the Notre Dame Campus. For example, he notes that the Prairie Lights restaurant will reopen at the Notre Dame Campus in the fall. Prairie Lights is a restaurant operated by students in his department.

Despite the delay, Reimers is still looking forward to seeing the eventual impact that the new facility will have in Winnipeg’s downtown area.

Reimers hopes to offer expanded services, courses, and host special activities on site once the facility is opened. “My plans are to offer after hours special courses, such as wine tasting and gourmet cooking classes, and many more events like kids camps in the summertime.” He added, “This great hospitality school will revitalize this area and compliment the Roblin Centre.”

As for the Hospitality program’s official moving date to the PGI, Losics could only speculate. “We’ll only be able to confirm that closer to spring.”

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