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In September 1992, the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College's Board of Governors approved Douglas J. Cardinal, Architect Ltd., to develop a unique architectural design for an SIFC building.
Since then, Cardinal has worked in consultation with Elders, faculty and staff, and with the SIFC Building Task Force, to review the mission and long-term needs of he College. The result of that collaboration is a plan for a new facility which will accommodate the SIFC's growing student population. The building incorporated cultural symbols such as the sacred circle and the four directions, in its design.
Since it was established in 1976, the SIFC has occupied leased classroom and office space in buildings belonging to the University of Regina.
Expansion is essential and space is imperative for classrooms, offices, library collections, and social, cultural and recreational activities. There is also a need for on campus residential accommodation for students.
The SIFC building will be integrated with the landscape, to allow easy access to the outdoors for staff, students and their families.
It will encircle a central plaza that is open to the four directions, and will be used for ceremonial and cultural gatherings of up to 2,000 people.
To the east, the plaza will face a courtyard, surrounded by academic and housing facilities. To the south it will open onto an even larger cultural area, which will accommodate up to 8,000 people. To the west the plaza will open towards the University of Regina campus and to the north it will open onto a cultural interpretation area for gatherings and celebrations such as powwows.
Graduating inward toward the plaza, the tiers of the four story complex will create a shelter for people walking to the adjoining wings.
Cardinal's architectural design for the SIFC reflects an aboriginal perception of the natural world, and will serve the spiritual, cultural and academic needs of the College.
Under the leadership of Blair Stonechild, Executive Director of Planning and Development, the SIFC is working to raise $40 million dollars for the first phase of construction, which is scheduled to commence in 1996.
Stonechild is a very excited about the future of the SIFC. "The construction of such a unique and culturally innovative building will reflect the coming of age of the Saskatchewan Indian Federated College as a world-class university institution," he says.
Since the early days of Treaty, the federal and provincial governments and their agencies, the First Nations of Saskatchewan, and academic and community-based organizations have worked hard to forge partnerships. The task has been challenging; but strong determination and a shared vision are transforming the dream of First Nations higher education into a reality: a nationally and internationally recognized First Nation University college.