It was a grand opening deserving of the adjective.
Friday's celebration was the formal public unveiling of a $12-million upgrade to what was commonly known as the Industrial Fire School.
Henceforth, the facility is known as the Fire and Public Safety Centre of Excellence. Funding for the project came from the federal government ($4.9 million) as well as the same amount from the provincial government. The remaining 10% raised by the Lambton College Foundation, headed by Andy Brandt, whose list of "formers" includes, Mayor of Sarnia, MPP, Leader of the Opposition at Queen's Park and CEO of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.
Judith Morris, Lambton College vice president of academic and student success, was one of those who thanked the many people who made the project, 10 years or so in the making, a reality.
Carol-Lynn Chambers, chief of the centre and associate dean of the School of Fire Sciences and Public Safety, added her thanks:
Student Amanda Wilson, who is in the Protection, Security and Investigation specialty in the Criminal Justice Program, was joined by fellow students at the podium.
Sarnia Police Service Chief Phil Nelson made comments about the OPP Aboriginal Ceremonial Unit before presenting the keys to a donated decommissioned vehicle (pictured), which will be used by the Centre of Excellence.
Just before an official ribbon cutting ceremony, members of the OPP Aboriginal Ceremonial Unit held a drum closing.