Humber College opens doors to new Barrett Centre

by | Apr 15, 2019 | Biz/Tech, Headlines, North

Patrick Simpson, Biz/Tech Reporter

Humber College officially opened the Barrett Centre of Technology and Innovation after almost three years of planning and development.

This is where Humber students focused on technology will be able to work on the cutting edge of the future with robots, virtual reality, design, and advanced manufacturing techniques.

On Wednesday, April 10, the post-secondary school held the grand opening of the new building for donors and attending government officials.

At the grand opening celebration, Chris Whitaker, President and CEO of Humber College, said the new centre will help students adapt to a changing landscape.

“With this centre, we will continue to be a leader in polytechnic education and prepare learners for a rapidly changing workforce,” Whitaker said.

“We will also help organizations across sectors in testing new technologies, conducting applied research, and providing solutions based thinking to help them be globally competitive,” he said.

Chris Whitaker, CEO and President of Humber College, posing for a photo at the Barrett Centre grand opening with Minister of Science and Sport, Kirsty Duncan and Pepper the robot. April 10, 2019. (Patrick Simpson)

The new building comes fully fitted with the latest in advanced technology and offers students the ability to work with various Humber-partnered companies to develop specific skills for the workforce.

The 8,639 square-metre (93,000 sq. ft.) building is planned to act as a training hub for students in the automation, robotics, advanced manufacturing, virtual reality, and applied technology fields.

Neal Mohammed, director of the Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation, has been a part of the development of the building since the very beginning.

Mohammed said he hopes students use the new facility to build their work experience.

“I hope it will attract students into this hands-on type of working experience, working with companies, working with industry, working with faculty, to learn the right skill set that will give them that edge for that 21st Century type of future,” he said.

The main hall at the Barrett Centre during the grand opening at Humber College North on April 10, 2019. (Patrick Simpson)

Many of the projects at the Barrett Centre will focus on collaborative learning between students, faculty and companies, who will use it to work with students and experts to solve business and innovation challenges.

A large portion of the funding came from the Barrett Family Foundation, which donated $10 million. The federal government also put in $15.5 million while the province chipped in $1.5 million.

Merrilee Fullerton, provincial Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, said the new building represents a new start for the college and students.

“This new Barrett Centre for Technology Innovation is an excellent example of Humber’s vision, and efforts to support learning opportunities in the skilled trades, automation, and experiential learning,” she said.

The Barrett Centre is located next to the Learning Resource Centre at Humber College North and is partially open for tours and will be fully operational this September.