Red River College has a lot of fundraising to do.

A major expansion of the college's downtown campus was announced today. The expansion, known as the Innovation Centre, will be a $95.4-million, 100,000 square foot facility for innovation, applied research, entrepreneurship, and commercialization going up on Elgin Avenue. To build the project, the Scott Fruit Heritage Building will be renovated and a new building will go up at the Metro Motors site, which will be torn down.

More than $40-million is coming from the federal government. Red River is fundraising the rest, with a loan guarantee from the province so work can get underway immediately.

RRC president and CEO Paul Vogt says they're giving themselves five years to do it, and they've never had a campaign of this magnitude before.

"We've had campaigns that are as much as $7- or $8-million, but you can see the difference in scale. But we are confident that we have partnerships and we have many people who specifically support elements of our programming that provide their future employees, so I think we have a very strong case to launch the campaign," he says.

Education and training minister Ian Wishart spoke at the announcement. He says the school has great industry connections and great potential in the fundraising area, so the province is acting as the backstop.

The fundraising campaign is being spearheaded by Brian Scharfstein.

Natural resources minister Jim Carr and Mayor Brian Bowman were also a part of today's announcement.

Carr calls it a very big deal that is important for both the college and downtown Winnipeg.

"It's a tangible way that the Government of Canada can make significant investments in innovation at a college that is increasingly developing a national and international reputation for excellence," says Carr

RRC says the new facility could attract up to 1,200 new students to the Exchange.

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