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Source: University of Guelph

Rural Development Centre Officially Opens at Ridgetown

November 7, 2006

A $7-million education and training centre that will offer rural Ontario residents leading-edge teaching, learning and extension opportunities has opened at the University of Guelph’s Ridgetown Campus.

The 30,000-square-foot Rudy H. Brown Rural Development Centre houses classrooms, a lecture theatre, an auditorium, meeting rooms to support innovative research and learning, as well as administrative offices and community areas for local events. A grand-opening event was held today at Ridgetown, with a public open house planned for Nov. 10 from 2 to 8 p.m.

"This project is an incredible demonstration of the power of partnership," said Guelph president Alastair Summerlee. "Thanks to the investment and support from the provincial government, the University, industry and the community, we now have a fabulous centre that will drive innovation."

The provincial and municipal government’s provided some $4.7 million for the project, with the additional $2.3 million being raised by the Ridgetown College Agri-Food Foundation. The foundation was initiated by the late Rudy H. Brown, for whom the centre is named. He taught at Ridgetown for 33 years and was known across Ontario for his extension activities.

"The McGuinty government is pleased to contribute to a facility that supports Ontario’s rural communities," said Leona Dombrowsky, Ontario’s minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. "Ridgetown’s new state-of-the-art facility will provide students with innovative new programs, while also providing the community with space for local events."

Ridgetown campus director Gary Ablett added: "We are enormously grateful to the many partners who have contributed to this project. With our increasing student numbers and expanding slate of academic programs, the new centre will provide much-needed space."

Ridgetown has about 500 students and last spring saw its largest graduating class ever. The campus offers diploma programs in agriculture, environmental management (introduced in 2003), horticulture and veterinary technology, as well as certificate training in veterinary medical office administration and landscape management.

A new bachelor of bioresource management degree program, which teaches the science and business of environmental management, started in 2006. For this innovative Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) degree program, students spend two years at Ridgetown, followed by two years at the Guelph campus.

"This new centre will help strengthen Ridgetown’s role as a leader in agriculture and rural community and its commitment to excellence in agricultural education ," said Mary Buhr, OAC acting dean.

Contact: Gary Ablett, Ridgetown Campus Director 519-674-1505

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, Ext. 56982.



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