ANTIGONISH: The ground is broken and there is work to be done.

On September 20, StFX University hosted the official sod turning for its soon-to-be Mulroney Hall and Xaverian Gardens. The $100 million project will include a new academic building for the Centre for Innovation in Health, a refurbishment of Nicholson Tower, and the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government.

Mulroney, who helped turn the sod, said he originally felt it was more appropriate to name the facility after someone else, but eventually relented when the university said they wanted it named after the former Prime Minister.

“I saw the footprint this morning,” said Mulroney. “It’s going to be remarkable. I hope it will bring a lot of benefits to StFX for all the years to come.”

When asked about the number of political leaders who already came through StFX, including the area’s MP Sean Fraser and MLA Randy Delorey, Mulroney said the facility will generate even more opportunities for students.

“Training in public policy at that age is going to give rise to opportunities at the United Nations, the World Bank, Bank of Canada, the Government of Canada,” he said. “This is going to be fantastic for young people from Nova Scotia and elsewhere who want to see a new dimension to the careers.”

Photo by Matt Draper
Former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney answers questions following the sod turning.

StFX President Dr. Kent MacDonald said the project will change the face of the university forever.

“We’re entering our 165th year and we’ve never had a project like this,” said MacDonald. “It’s $100 million and what that money does is allow us to provide better learning facilities for our students to gather, places for our faculty to do research, and really for StFX to become a beacon for anyone who is interested in public service from across the country and around the world.”

MacDonald said the investment will entrench StFX as being known as the place to go if people want to enter public life. He said the project would not be what it is without Mulroney’s help.

Of the $100 million, $50 is going towards the Mulroney Hall, $10 million for scholarships and bursaries, $10 million for endowed chairs, and $30 million for the Centre for Innovation in Health.

“[The Centre for Innovation in Health] is a project that we’ll continue to raise money for over the next two years,” said MacDonald.

The provincial government offered $5 million for the project and the federal government is kicking in $30 million.

“Infrastructure is the foundation of the Canada we want to build for tomorrow,” stated Central Nova MP Sean Fraser in a release. “It’s thanks to projects like the Centre for Innovation in Health and the Brian Mulroney Institute of Government, as well as the rehabilitation of the Nicholson Tower, that will help us build 21st-century communities and ensure a high quality of life for generations to come.”