Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs 519 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

October 18, 2005

Rural Development Centre Receives $1 Million, Groundbreaking Held

A new education and training centre at the Ridgetown college campus of the University of Guelph received a $1-million boost today from the Ontario government.

The announcement was made by Leona Dombrowsky, minister of agriculture, food and rural affairs, during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Rudy H. Brown Rural Development Centre in Ridgetown. Preliminary construction has already begun on the centre, which is scheduled for completion in fall 2006. It will include classrooms and a lecture theatre to support innovative research and learning, as well as administrative offices and community areas for local events.

“This new centre will provide much-needed space so that the college can deliver innovative new programs such as the bachelor of bio-resource management degree program, for the benefit of our students and our communities,” Dombrowsky said. It will also further enhance Ridgetown’s commitment to excellence in agricultural education and to the prosperity of rural Ontario, she said.

The $1-million allocation is being made through ReNew Ontario, the government’s five-year infrastructure investment plan, and builds on the $2.5 million OMAFRA committed in the project in 2004. An additional $600,000 came from the Ontario Small Town and Rural Development Infrastructure Initiative.

“This is another excellent example of the value of the partnership between OMAFRA and the University of Guelph,” said U of G president Alastair Summerlee. “We are striving to find new and innovative ways to meet the needs of rural Ontario, and the development centre will offer leading-edge educational and outreach programs. Government commitment is vital to the project. We are hopeful that this latest investment will allow the University to facilitate additional support from the private sector.”

To date, more than $2.3 million has been raised privately by the Ridgetown College Agri-Food Foundation, which has played an integral role in helping to secure support from government, corporations, alumni, students, staff and the community. The foundation was created by the late Rudy H. Brown, who taught at Ridgetown for 33 years and was committed to ensuring that there were new facilities to meet the needs of rural Ontario youth.

“This building project has received support from all our stakeholders,” said Ron Pitblado, acting director of the Ridgetown campus. “Every gift is greatly appreciated and has helped us reach this milestone event.”

Summerlee also thanked staff and officials from the foundation, Ridgetown campus, OMAFRA and the Ontario Realty Corporation (ORC), the government’s real estate and facilities management agency, for their “past and future support of this important initiative.”

The ORC will oversee the construction of the rural development centre. “The ORC has extensive experience delivering projects of varying type, size, and complexity,” said Tony Miele, president and chief executive officer.

Ron Pitblado
Acting Director, University of Guelph Ridgetown College Campus
(519) 674-1505 /

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rebecca Kendall, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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