Holland College Blog

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Holland College graduate project manager for Prince of Wales Campus construction

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Demolition of houses on Grafton LaneDemolition of the buildings on Grafton Lane started recently, signalling the beginning of the multi-year Prince of Wales Campus redesign and construction project. The project will see the construction of two new buildings; an expansion of Glendenning Hall, the college’s residence; and extensive renovations in the Charlottetown Centre. It’s an enormous project – the biggest of its kind in the college’s 40-year history, and, given the scope of the endeavour, it’s likely to provide work for many Holland College graduates, starting with one of the project managers, Greg Roach.
Greg Roach

Roach, 26, had his first Holland College experience in the Adult Education division after he found out that he could not follow his father’s footsteps into the RCMP due to his eyesight.

“I had the option of corrective vision surgery, but that wasn’t something I was too interested in undergoing. I wasn’t really sure on what I wanted to do for post-secondary education, so I decided to stay in school mode while sort of taking a year off, and I went to upgrade my Grade 12 Math and English credits before applying to a science program at university,” he recalls.

One evening, the instructor suggested that the students attend the college’s open house, which was taking place in the Charlottetown Centre across the street. It was there that Roach’s interest in construction, formed in his early childhood when Lego sets literally provided the building blocks for his education, rekindled.

“I found myself in the Engineering and Applied Science section of the gymnasium talking to Terry McKenna, the learning manager for Construction Technology. Talking with Terry, I remembered all my past experiences in drafting and design technology in high school, and also building Lego houses and scale model houses I made of Popsicle sticks,” he says.

As a result of talking to McKenna, Roach applied to the college.

“In the fall of 2003 I was accepted to the Construction Technology program. The program was a fantastic ‘foundation’ — pardon the pun — to the start of my career. The student to instructor ratio was great, it was easy to ask questions and get the attention needed. The program was set up in such a way that it was all related to industry, and it was all around us. We weren’t searching for ‘X’ or numbers that didn’t exist, it was there in plain English. We were applying real standards and studying real world applications. The field experience during the course and the on-the-job training really gave me the feeling that, come graduation, I would have the skills required by employers.”

The summer after his graduation, Roach worked at a local truss manufacturing company. But by the fall, he decided that he would like to continue his training at Holland College to pursue his interest in drafting and design, something he had learned in high school but never really used until he enrolled in the Construction Technology program, which has several drafting assignments in the curriculum. Roach enrolled for the Architectural Technology program in the fall of 2005.

By the time he graduated two years later, the combination of his two diplomas, Construction Technology and Architectural Technology, gave him a strong underpinning of knowledge and hands-on experience.

“With the Architectural program, I really had a solid grasp of the design process and how everything went together in the starting phases before a shovel ever hits the ground in a construction project.” This augmented the Construction Technology program, which is designed to give students a basic understanding of the overall building construction industry, enabling them to work in administrative and middle management jobs.

In 2007, five months after graduation, he was offered a position with N46 Architecture as an Architectural Technologist.

“In that role, I prepared drawings for projects that ranged from houses to large scale commercial buildings. We also looked after the project management for our projects,” he explains.

Centre for Applied Science and TechnologyWhen N46 was selected as the architectural team to work on the college’s new Centre for Applied Science and Technology building, part of the Prince of Wales Campus project, the company’s owner, architect David Lopes, asked Roach to take on the role of project manager for the duration of the construction.

“Being a Holland College alumnus, the opportunity to come back and work with instructors and staff I knew was exciting. It’s a very historical time for Holland College, and this is a chance to be a part of that,” he says.

Students currently enrolled in Holland College’s Environmental Applied Science Technology, Construction Technology and Architectural Technology programs will be able to see the evolution of a multi-million dollar project for themselves over the next two years as the college begins transforming its properties on Weymouth and Kent streets into the newly-named Prince of Wales Campus.

Roach says the construction of the Centre for Applied Science and Technology will give students a unique opportunity to observe the development of an environmentally innovative building.
“The technologies that are being incorporated in this new facility are rarely implemented all at same time, so it’s a great opportunity to educate everyone. The technology that we’ll be using significantly changes how buildings are designed and their effect on the environment. Some of the key features include a geothermal system that will meet between 70 and 90 per cent of the building’s heating and cooling requirements; greywater collection, where rainwater from the roof run-off is treated and used to flush toilets and to water gardens; solar panels; and high efficiency lighting systems. At the end of the day, the goal is that this building will be a ‘living lab’ — a building where students can see the technologies they read about and research in action,” he explains.

As Roach reflects on his time as a student at the college, he recalls how much he enjoyed the learning environment.

“It was the way they related the daily routine to the work place. You weren’t being instructed all the time, you could work at your own pace. There were scheduled classes and courses, but during times where you weren’t in class, you could really buckle down and focus on something that you needed to get done. You also had access to instructors easily, and they were always there to listen and would take the time to explain things to you, to ensure that you got your questions answered.

“If I had to go back and do it all over again, I would. I enjoyed every minute I spent at the college, and being here during this development of the campus–it’s just like being back home.”


Written by Sara Underwood

October 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

One Response

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  1. Wow, just reading through the construction blog, fantastic, great to see the pictures when I can’t be there in person. What a great way to keep people up to date.

    Audrey Penner

    October 7, 2009 at 2:54 pm

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