For most people, back-to-school usually means new pens, new highlighters, maybe a new backpack.

For Humber, back-to-school means a whole new building – although there are probably new pens around somewhere.

More than 200 people crowded the North Campus Learning Resource Commons (LRC) today to find out that Humber will receive more than $21 million from the federal government. The funds will go towards two major infrastructure projects: construction of a new Centre of Technology and Innovation, and implementing Phase I of the college’s Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP), which will significantly improve water and energy efficiency.

The Centre of Technology and Innovation, which will be built at the North Campus roughly in the area between the LRC and the Guelph-Humber building, will be a home for programs that emphasize sustainable building, creativity, entrepreneurship and human-centred technology.  The IEMP aims to cut water use per student by 50 per cent and total greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent by 2034.

“This funding will enable Humber to continue to support two of our core values: innovation and sustainability,” said Chris Whitaker, Humber’s president and CEO. “With this announcement, the federal government has acknowledged the significant role that postsecondary institutions play in fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, research and environmental sustainability.”

Duncan also announced that the federal government would be increasing the amount of Canada Student Grants by 50 per cent, to a maximum of $3,000 per year.

Both the federal Minister of Science, Kirsty Duncan, who made the announcement, and the provincial Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Development, Deb Matthews, were on hand to meet Humber students and staff. Several groups of students, including recent Skills Canada mechatronics champs Avery Bird and Theo Willert, had projects on display.