Home Regular Contributors Catherine Brownlee New MacEwan Business Building Will be a Win-Win for Edmonton

New MacEwan Business Building Will be a Win-Win for Edmonton

Catherine Brownlee

Get ready, Edmonton, because MacEwan means business! Having celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, the university is now planning for its future. Last year, MacEwan released Teaching Greatness, a bold strategic vision to guide the institution’s evolution and growth in the coming years. The plan includes significantly growing the university’s student body.

MacEwan is currently home to almost 18,500 full- and part-time students. By 2030, it’s looking to grow that number to 30,000, an increase of more than 60 per cent. While this is an undoubtedly ambitious target, the university is confident it’s up to the task. It does, however, face a significant hurdle – space.

More and more students are choosing MacEwan because of the experience it offers and the results it delivers. Not only does the university provide better access to professors and learning opportunities, but also prepares graduates to seamlessly integrate into the workplace. Bursting at the seams with ideas and creativity is a great thing. Bursting at the seams with students, less so.

With an eye to the future, the university has developed plans for a new 7 storey, 35,000 square metre business building that will provide room on the campus for 7,500 more students. In addition to the School of Business, the building will also be home to the Careers and Experience office, MacEwan International and the Office of Research Services.

One of MacEwan’s strongest features has always been its location. Founded in 1971, the university was determined to do things differently from the start. The vision of MacEwan’s first president, John L. Haar, of a post-secondary institution with the “city as its campus” was very much a part of that. Being located downtown wasn’t just about convenience and providing students with nightlife options, but rather to integrate students into their surrounding environment and introduce them to the real-world scenarios they would encounter after graduation.

This vision, coupled with MacEwan’s more hands-on approach to learning, has greatly benefited the university’s students and Edmonton alike. Two people who would know are John Day and Rob Seidel, seasoned business leaders and co-chairs of MacEwan’s capital fundraising campaign. As they wrote in a recent op-ed in the Edmonton Journal, “For both the downtown core and the business community, MacEwan has been an extremely positive force, cultivating the next generation of leaders right next door.”

The new building, and the larger student body it will support, will help ensure Alberta has the highly skilled workers it needs to be competitive in the global economy; but more than that, it’s going to help revitalize downtown Edmonton. City cores around the world were hard hit by the pandemic. As employees worked from home, businesses suffered significantly, if they survived at all.

Bringing tens of thousands of students into the heart of the city is a sure-fire way to inject vitality and support much-needed growth. Wherever they go, the young and aspiring bring ideas, creativity and ambition. So, where they congregate, opportunities flow. Now more than ever, Alberta needs to attract, cultivate and retain talent.

After two gruelling years, things are finally starting to turn around for the province, so we need to stay the course and build momentum. A new business building for MacEwan will help do just that.