Marconi Move?

Monday’s announcement about new capital projects at three Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) campuses got me to wondering about the status of the feasibility study into moving the NSCC Marconi Campus to Downtown Sydney.

In case you missed the announcement, the three projects — worth an estimated $24 million — include:

Building an $8 million Information Technology Innovation Centre at the Institute of Technology Campus in Halifax. According to the press release:

The IT Campus is at maximum capacity, with sustained year-over-year enrolment growth. The three-story, 21,000 [sq ft] addition to the IT Campus will focus on job creation and industry-driven problem-solving through expanded new program offerings and work-integrated learning opportunities. Offerings in the multi-functional space will include specialized information technology, analytics, and health information management programs.

Man, the jargon just never quits, but I’m pretty sure “industry-driven problem-solving” means: solving problems industry used to hire your graduates to solve before it realized it could dupe your publicly funded institution into solving them instead — while tricking students into paying for their own training.

Or maybe I grow cynical.

NSCC Institute of Technology, Halifax. (Photo by Ava Coulter, The Signal

NSCC Institute of Technology, Halifax. (Photo by Ava Coulter, The Signal)

The second is a $7 million residence for the Strait Area Campus in Port Hawkesbury, which is pretty straightforward: a 51-bed, 21,000 sq ft residence that will “help the campus serve a broader range of students and clients.” (Clients?)

And finally, a $9 million residence and Business Research Centre for the Centre of Geographic Sciences (COGS) in Lawrencetown which will provide additional beds for students while also opening the door to industry:

COGS is home to Canada’s largest geomatics-focused learning environment where students and industry professionals are trained to launch and build mapping and information technology solutions. The construction of a 40-bed, residence at COGS is a priority to supplement the area’s residential rental options. The new 27,000 [sq ft] pace will include a business research centre. It will bring industry, students, and researchers together, serving as a hub for tackling geospatial challenges and issues that cut across key Nova Scotia sectors like agriculture, energy, health wellness and aquaculture.

Didn’t companies used to do their own damn research?



Anyway, as I said, the announcement reminded me that it’s been a minute since Ekistics Planning and Design of Dartmouth was awarded the $144,586 contract to look into moving the NSCC Marconi Campus to Downtown Sydney, a capital project notably absent from Monday’s announcement.

(I just double-checked the Nova Scotia procurement notices website and realized that the call for bids for the study closed on 3 January 2018 and the contract was awarded on 23 March 2018.)

According to an article in the Cape Breton Post announcing the awarding of the contract:

The study will look at space requirements and potential locations, campus design, student impacts and transportation needs. The province says the work will begin immediately, and will conclude by December.

That means work was supposed to conclude over three months ago.

I emailed Shannon Kerr, spokesperson for the Department of Labour and Advanced Education (which commissioned the study) to ask about its status and she told me in an email:

We can confirm we have received the report from Ekistics Plan and Design and we continue to take steps in moving this project forward, including working to identify possible locations. We’ll be happy to reach out once we have a further update to share.


Featured image: NSCC Marconi Campus (Source: YouTube NSCC Marconi Campus (Source: YouTube)





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