Olds College will receive over $21 million for infrastructure upgrades, the province announced Friday, which are expected to create upwards of 120 jobs.

The funding includes $6.21 million to redevelop the James Murray Building, as well as $15.16 million to expand the Lachin McKinnon Building and Animal Health Technology Labs at Olds College, creating more state-of-the-art spaces for students and researchers.

The province anticipates that the upgrades to expand, and revitalize the agricultural buildings will help position Olds College as a leader in agricultural innovation, utilizing a blend of of agricultural expertise with technology and data science to develop new technology for smart, sustainable agriculture.

"This investment is a key part of our government's economic recovery plan," said Minister of Advanced Education Demetrios Nicolaides, in a statement. "Olds College has long been a valuable source of innovation for Alberta's agriculture sector, as well as a driving force for the regional economy in central Alberta. This investment will give students and researchers more access to cutting-edge facilities and help solidify the college's place as a world leader in this field."

Added Infrastructure minister Prasad Panda: "Agriculture is without a doubt the most important industry in our region. Our farm families are leaders in adopting new ideas and technology. Expanding and modernizing Olds College, supporting more students and researchers, will only help drive our industry forward."

Ag-Tech Learning Hub

Olds College administration and student leaders both expressed support for the funding.

"The first project will support our Animal Health Education Centre, resulting in a 67 per cent increase in capacity for animal health programming at the college. The second project will make our Ag-Tech Learning Hub a reality, which will house the Werklund School of Agriculture Technology and new programming that is coming online this fall," said Olds College president Stuart Cullum, who added that the Ag-Tech hub will connect to in-field technologies at the Olds College Smart Farm, as well as Alberta farmers and partners throughout the globe.

Student association president Michael Frankiw said, "it shows the government's commitment to supporting our agricultural industry in the new technological age."

The Calgary Chamber of Commerce also weighed in, saying that the $21 million investment "will advance our province and country's ability to nourish the world and have sustainable agricultural practices, while remaining competitiv on the world stage.

"Enabling our base industries to adapt and thrive, and developing the innovation super clusters of the future will be the key to Alberta's economic recovery; creating long-term sustainable jobs for all Albertans."