The university proposed buying five acres of city property along 15 St. East for $1.4 million, which council supported with no opposition.
“This is a great news item,” said Coun. Don Cody, who made the motion at the Nov. 29 regular meeting of council. “This is a piece of land we wanted to sell for some time. What makes me happy is that we sold it to an educational organization.
“I’m very, very pleased to see that it’s happening. It’s going to be a great asset to our community.”
FNUniv says the success of the project depends on securing the right funding, something it is in the process of doing.
“This multi-year project will require seeking government support, corporate and philanthropic giving, and investment by the First Nations University of Canada. One step of many, involves securing the land for this build,” said the university in a statement on Nov. 30.
The university submitted an application to the federal government’s Green and Inclusive Community Buildings Program in July of this year.
“The conceptual design outlines a two-story, 40,000 square foot zero carbon building, complete with a plan to transition to on-site renewable energy in the future and to be Passive House certified,” said the university.
City councillors pointed out that the $280,000 price per acre and other recent announcements, such as mills and a new hospital mean Prince Albert is seeing some big investment with hundreds of millions of dollars being poured into brand new builds.
“The fact that it will be a new campus as well as a partnership with the University of Regina, which is involved in this, it’s good news for our city,” said Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick.
The letter of intent is non-binding and conditional on the types of conditions that are standard in these types of transactions.
FNU said the northern campus in Prince Albert is its fastest growing location, outpacing what is seen in Regina and Saskatoon.
“With this new facility, the FNUniv will achieve a 21st-century learning environment that better aligns with our purpose, strategic plan, and unique student needs as well as accommodate Elders and Knowledge Keepers as part of our Indigenous ways of teaching and learning,” stated the university.
It continued on to say that the building will be designed to exceed accessibility standards, will support holistic learning and increase focus on program completion.
Until a new building is a reality, they plan to stay in their current location downtown, which is owned by the Prince Albert Development Corporation.