The President's Blog

When it rains it pours

October 6th, 2017

Years from now, when I sit back and reflect upon my time in education, the last week of September 2017 at Parkland College will be at the top of the list!

Our week started with the annual Board/Staff workshop where we got to honour many employees with service awards, presented our Awards of Excellence, and recognized our status as one of Saskatchewan’s Top Employers for 2017. The distinguished and deep commitment of our staff to our students and the work of the College shone through brightly. Well done!

The Board Staff Workshop unveiled this year's recipients of the Awards of Excellence. Kami DePape (Vice-President, Academics) took home the Advance award, Roxanne Alstad (Program Assistant) received the Innovate award, Linda Banga (ABE Instructor) was given the Achieve award, and the ABE Online team of Derek Mathewson (Instructor), Katherine Springford (Coordinator), and instructors Katherine Trebish and Michelle Donalds (not pictured) was recognized with the Grow award.

An afternoon boat-building activity was one of the most enjoyable work activities I have ever encountered. Who knew we were going to be so good at designing, building, and captaining cardboard vessels? Thanks to everyone who participated, especially to those who took the plunge and got in the pool. We said we wanted it to be both memorable and fun and it was all of that.

On Tuesday, we held our first Board meeting of the year where we were able to review the audited financial report for the 2016-17 fiscal year and present the consolidated financial statement to the Board. Thanks to the great work of many, we were able to present a stable and sound financial position to the Board. We are in a position to pay down another $1 million in capital debt for the Trades and Technology Centre with potential to pay down more before year-end. In two years, we will have paid down more than 50% of the outstanding debt leaving approximately $2 million dollars left to be paid through a long-term debt arrangement. In addition to the debt reduction, we will also have flexibility to pursue further capital expenditures and look at funding our transition to an integrated business software solution.

The good news week continued on Thursday as we celebrated the grand opening of our new space in Kamsack. The students and staff in Kamsack have been very patient as we searched for and then completed renovations in our new space. The learning environment is much improved from our previous location and one that I am certain will afford us opportunities to expand our program offerings in Kamsack. While I was pleased to assist with the ribbon cutting, the highlight of the opening came from the student speeches during the formal portion of the event. The students spoke glowingly of the commitment of the staff and the important role Parkland College is playing in helping them improve their lives. Even more good news – we were able to complete the project without access to provincial capital funding.

Finally, Friday saw a group of College staff venture out to the Fire Training site in Melville where we reviewed our progress on the development of the site. Thanks to the generation of our own internal funds and the $200,000 in infrastructure funding from the federal and provincial governments, we will be completing the development of classroom space and installation of an enhanced water system over the course of the next few months. An immeasurable amount of determination and commitment has gone into the development of this site over the years. Staff have given of themselves to make slow, steady, and remarkable progress on a site that is unique to our province and will positively influence the future development of the College as a whole.

It was a top-shelf week full of good news for Parkland College. And as I mentioned in my comments at the Board Staff Workshop, there’s a current country song that puts a new twist on an old saying. And I find it very appropriate for how things are going these days: When It Rains It Pours.

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