Recipe for success: SAIT pots $41 million for culinary arts upgrade

Investment will be made in the John Ware Building over the next three years

Alberta Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides cooks Saganaki at the Highwood kitchen inside the John Ware Building on SAIT campus in Calgary on Thursday, April 14, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

Alberta is helping mix ingredients for the redevelopment of SAIT’s globally-recognized culinary arts program.

The province made a $41 million commitment Thursday to the redevelopment of the John Ware Building, which houses the culinary arts program.

Dr. David Ross, President and CEO of SAIT, along with the Minister of Advanced Education, Demetrios Nicolaides, made the announcement inside one of the newly-designed rooms in the building.

Afterward, Nicolaides met with SAIT culinary art students and demonstrated the making of Saganaki, crispy cheese.

Earlier this year, the province earmarked $171 million to build student enrollment in areas that have identified field shortages. The $41 million investment is not part of the $171 million. 

The UCP will distribute the funds over the next three years for the John Ware Building redevelopment.

“I can’t tell you how much this means to the SAIT’s community of learners,” said Ross.

“Our province’s investment in SAIT enables us to further enhance this infrastructure, and to match the quality of education that we provide our students in the hospitality and tourism sector, which I know is vital – absolutely vital to the Alberta economy.”

Flash of fire in the pan at SAIT

Dr. David Ross, SAIT President and CEO, speaks at a press conference inside the John Ware Building on SAIT campus in Calgary on Thursday, April 14, 2022. ALEJANDRO MELGAR / FOR LIVEWIRE CALGARY

According to a report from CEOWorld Magazine, SAIT’s School of Hospitality and Tourism is the top school in Canada. Globally, it’s in the top 20.

Redevelopment of the John Ware Building will include the development of a Centre of Excellence for SAIT’s culinary arts program. This will “start very soon,” according to Ross.

A date has not been provided at this time.

The investment will make the building more functional for all students at SAIT. Student capacity in the John Ware Building is expected to increase by 150.

“This investment is incredibly important for SAIT, and for Albertans broadly,” Nicolaides said.

“We must look at maximizing the space at post-secondary facilities, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here today so that we can benefit all students at SAIT for many years to come.”

The SAIT Highwood has been operational for 25 years and will be redesigned for the newest generation of SAIT students.

“The support and funding from the Government of Alberta allows us to take the next really important step in our programming, and the student experience to the next level,” Ross said.

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