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SETI construction drawing to close

With their deadline just around the corner, work on the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute is gradually drawing to a close.

With their deadline just around the corner, work on the Saskatchewan Energy Training Institute is gradually drawing to a close.

The $14 million facility, which will be home to the Southeast Regional College's energy and trades related courses, is currently under construction in the Glen Peterson Industrial Subdivision and must reach the substantial completion stage by Oct. 31.

SETI director Keith Madu took The Mercury on a tour of institute Monday and provided some insight on not only the building itself but some of the classes that will take place when it is up and fully operational.

Although it is tucked in the back corner of the Peterson Subdivision, there is no disputing the institute will be one of the most beautiful buildings in Estevan both inside and out. The exterior stands out due to the incredible number of windows that adorn the building and the masonry work which is highlighted by the use of Tyndall stone, which was transported from a quarry in Manitoba and is a limestone that contains numerous fossils.

While the exterior is impressive, it is the interior that is likely to leave a lasting memory. Although it was not completed, it's obvious the feature that will stand out for many is the auditorium that is located in the centre of the building. When finished, the auditorium will be almost entirely encased in glass and will likely be the showpiece of the facility.

Madu said the plan is to use it for various school functions but noted it will also be made available to the public to use for meetings and other events.

"We've even had requests to use it for weddings," said Madu. "We don't know if we want to get into that but we can see why people would want to use it for (weddings)."

The ground floor of the institute contains areas for staff as well as a food services area which currently does not contain a full kitchen but can be expanded to in the future."

Along with the auditorium, one of the other standout features of the institute is its open concept with high ceiling and all kinds of natural light from the numerous windows.

"It's an open concept but it will also have an industrial look to it," Madu said. "That was done purposely because we are the energy industry, we are in an industrial park so it has a lot of nice architecture but also that industrial feel to it."

At each end of the main floor are classrooms and the adjoining laboratories that will be home to a variety of courses.

The functional design of the area will allow students to do their theory work in the classroom and then move directly to the lab for the hands-on portion of the program. The design of the labs will also allow SETI staff to easily change the courses offered in the area should the need arise.

Madu noted the labs also have high ceilings with overhead doors that will enable them to move some of their courses indoors once the weather takes a turn for the worse.

"We are going to be build a fall arrest tower. Then, we have the overhead doors so in the wintertime, if we are trying to do a confined space course, if it is -30 outside we can pull the trailer inside and they can do their training. By having this space we have basically taken weather as a factor out of our courses."

Madu added the labs will contain space for their electrical and plumbing courses and will also contain whatever oilfield equipment they are able to acquire.. The college just learned last week they have been approved to offer a plumbing program at the institute.

"We are going to build a mock up of a house and that is where the plumbing program will be for their hands-on."

Madu said along with electrical and plumbing, they also plan to offer an instrumentation program in 2012 and are looking towards a welding program in the future.

The upstairs of the building contains classroom areas that will be home to courses such as CPR and first aid, office education and business. There is also a boardroom that will also be available for the public's use.

Although the building is clearly coming together nicely, Madu also must keep a close watch on his calendar with the construction deadline nearing. Under the stipulations set out by the federal and provincial governments, who are splitting the cost of the institute, there must be substantial completion by Oct. 31. As well, no further money will be made available after that date from either level of government.

"I keep being told we are on time," Madu said. "November 1, I am supposed to get the keys to the building."

Much of November and December will be spent moving into the facility and ironing out the finer details. By January Madu hopes to be ready to offer their mainstay courses such as H2S, confined space, fall arrest and first aid although if they are not ready they will still be available at their campus in the Estevan Comprehensive School.

Madu said he hopes to have their new programs such as plumbing and electrical ready to roll out in March while instrumentation is likely to be offered later in 2012.

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