The City of Prince Albert is supporting the First Nations University of Canada’s (FNUC) efforts to build a new campus in the city.

At a City Council meeting Monday afternoon Councillors voted unanimously to transfer five acres of land, which is near the Alfred Jenkins Field House and Victoria Hospital to FNUC for a small fee.

FNUC was represented at council by Gord Hunchak, vice president of university relations, who spoke about the importance of a new campus for young people in the city and northern Saskatchewan. Hunchak stressed that new facilities will provide a better experience for students in the future, an experience that cannot be provided at the university’s current home.

“We know its an important project for the youth here in Prince Albert and the north both Indigenous and non Indigenous, this is an amazing opportunity to provide the student experience and the programming that they deserve,” he said.

Previously the university had looked at getting land to build a new campus near Saskatchewan Polytechnic, but now find the land in the western part of the city better fits their needs. Specifically, Hunchak said the location of the field house and Victoria Hospital are two of the biggest positives for them.

While addressing council Hunchak explained the project could have a large economic impact for the city and surrounding area.

“It will end up likely being anywhere between a $40 and $60 million build and one can sort of estimate the economic benefits of that kind of activity in the City of Prince Albert and surrounding area,” he said.

Currently FNUC has just under 400 students enrolled in P,A., which according to the university is lower than previous times, which they said can be partially attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a new campus the university is expecting to see their enrollment climb to at least around 600 students in ten years. A representative from FNUC said they are expecting to see higher enrollment with a new campus as they will be able to offer additional programming.

A number of City Councillors spoke in favour of the land transfer, Coun. Blake Edwards briefly spoke about the positive economic effects in regards to construction while Coun. Dennis Ogrodnick focused in part on how a project like the new campus will help the city in achieving some of its goals in regards to advancing Truth and Reconciliation.

With the land now in place the university will be seeking federal funding to help pay for the project.