‘Our heritage carpentry team is eager to get started on the barn.’
According to college president Sandy MacDonald, teachers at P.E.I.’s Holland College are delighted to get to work with a land donation that will have a significant influence on a number of the school’s programmes.
The John and Christine Andrew Centre of Excellence in Watershed Management, a five-hectare property donated by John and Melissa Andrew, will be named after their parents. It comprises a history home and outbuildings, as well as a variety of natural habitats, and is located just outside Charlottetown in East Royalty. It is the greatest single gift to Holland College, valued at $2.6 million.
“Basically, you’ll have a living lab a five-minute drive from our classrooms,” MacDonald said.
“It will have a huge influence on a number of our projects, including our conservation, environmental, heritage carpentry, and energy programmes, as well as indirectly a number of others.”
Freshwater and saltwater marshes, as well as an Acadian forest, are all close by on the site. To research and conserve the wetlands, the college wants to work with the province, Parks Canada, UPEI’s Centre for Climate Change and Adaptation, and P.E.I.’s 24 watershed conservation groups.
Students will begin working as soon as possible.
The heritage carpentry programme will take care of the buildings, including the house, which is at least 150 years old. The barn will be renovated first for classroom and lab space. The house will serve as a meeting space for environmental groups on the island.
“Our historic carpentry crews are ecstatic to get to the barn and start working on the restorations,” MacDonald added.
“We aim to capture the homestead’s character. The property has been maintained by John and Christine and their family for thousands of hours. When you walk through it, it appears to have been done by Parks Canada, but then you realise it’s really a labour of love.”
The college plans to generate hydroelectric power on-site using an ancient spillway from a previous mill on the property, making the centre carbon neutral.
Students from Holland College will begin working and learning on the property as early as the winter semester, according to MacDonald.