Sask. Polytech, Nutrien announce ‘historic’ $15M donation for fundraising campaign

Heywood Yu/Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Saskatchewan Polytechnic president and CEO Larry Rosia speaks during a press conference at Innovation Place in Saskatoon, SK on Friday, March 15, 2024. Nutrien donated $15 million towards Saskatchewan Polytechnic to support construction of the new Saskatoon campus.

Saskatoon StarPhoenix Staff

A historic gift is launching a historic fundraising campaign for Saskatchewan’s Polytechnic campus in Saskatoon.

Potash giant Nutrien is gifting $15 million towards Polytechnic’s $100-million Time to Rise campaign in support of the construction of a new Saskatoon campus at Innovation Place on University of Saskatchewan land.

“With this significant contribution, we are not just constructing a new campus, we are building a launchpad for tomorrow’s leaders,” Sask. Polytechnic president and CEO Larry Rosia said Friday at the announcement, adding the new campus will include “state-of-the-art facilities, cutting-edge resources and an environment that inspires success in every learning journey.”

The new location, discussed for nearly a decade, was only officially announced in September to replace the aging facilities on Idylwyld Drive. At that time, Premier Scott Moe said the project will create an “innovation corridor” harnessing the capabilities of Sask. Polytech, the U of S and Innovation Place all in one area, with the potential to benefit the province for decades.

Nutrien will now be a title supporter of the program’s School of Mining, Manufacturing and Engineering Technologies.

Chris Reynolds, Nutrien’s executive vice-president and president, potash, said the company’s mandate “begins right here at home in Saskatchewan.

“As our industry continues to evolve, attracting top talent in Saskatchewan remains crucial.”

Reynolds said the company is proud to make the $15-million campaign contribution, “knowing it will have a lasting impact on future generations of Saskatchewan Polytechnic students enrolled in skilled trades programs.”

Currently, Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s campus in Saskatoon is made up of a network of decentralized, outdated buildings. Officials say the new campus will offer modern, technology-rich learning opportunities. Rosia previously has said the core Polytech campus on Idylwyld Drive was built in the 1940s as a vocational school, and many of the buildings are outdated and in need of costly upkeep and maintenance.

He said last fall that enrolment has grown over the decades to where the college’s operations are spread over 13 locations in Saskatoon, many in leased buildings. Beyond those costs, Rosia also said it’s inefficient to operate in such a manner.

“For more than 40 years, the connection between Nutrien and Sask. Polytech has been mutually beneficial and has evolved to become an indispensable partnership that plays a critical role in Saskatchewan’s economy,” Rosia said on Friday.

The donation, he added, “will leave a lasting impact on Sask. Polytech and future generations of students.”