Amid the bustle on Selkirk College’s Silver King Campus, a Nelson-based research company is bringing exciting new energy to the trades-focused facility.
D-Pace provides products and services to the international particle accelerator industry and employs a team of engineers, technologists, physicists, consultants and support staff. Earlier this month, D-Pace moved into a former Electrical Program shop where the company is setting up an Ion Source Test Facility.
Selkirk College staff and D-Pace team members gather in front of the building on Nelson’s Silver King Campus that once housed the Electrical Program shop. A new partnership between the post-secondary and the Nelson-based company will see the shop transformed into an Ion Source Test Facility.
“We required a large industrial space for this project and the former shop is a perfect fit,” says Nelson-born Dr. Morgan Dehnel, D-Pace’s founder and Chief Science & Innovation Officer. “Beyond meeting our needs for space, it’s a good fit to be on a post-secondary campus where learning is a focus. Selkirk College students will have the chance to be involved with highly specialized particle accelerator equipment right here in Nelson, and D-Pace will be able to access local talent and expertise.”
A Benefit to Students and Staff
The Silver King Campus is currently putting the final touches on a $23 million refresh project that has transformed the aging shops into modern learning spaces and added a brand new Student Commons Building. With the Electrical Program shop moving to a new space as part of the renovation, the 4,500 square foot building that formerly housed the popular program became available. After approval from the Ministry of Advanced Education, Skills & Training, Selkirk College and D-Pace signed a five-year lease that began in September.
“Selkirk College is a community resource on so many levels and we are pleased that we can help D-Pace with this project,” says Kerry Clarke, Selkirk College’s Vice President of College Services. “Having a vibrant company that works internationally and is on the leading edge of their sector is exciting. The energy of D-Pace employees and the work being done in that space will bring both our students and staff closer to the community as a whole.”
D-Pace recently secured a $1 million USD project to develop an ion source test stand in partnership with Sumitomo Heavy Industries Ion Technology Co., Ltd. of Japan. D-Pace will design, build, commission and test the system on the Silver King Campus. Once complete, the system will be crated and shipped from Nelson to the customer’s site in Japan.
The new contract comes after more than two decades of experience in the particle accelerator marketplace, making appropriate international connections, gaining capital, intensive technical publication of innovations, and developing an Ion Source Test Facility in Auckland, New Zealand.
Fostering Interest in Science and Technology
Founded in 1995 by Dehnel, D-Pace has grown and evolved into a company that is now able to win contracts for turnkey ion source systems.
“D-Pace is excited about the opportunity to collaborate with Selkirk College,” says Dehnel. “We have always been committed to helping foster economic diversification and innovation in rural British Columbia. Creating more interest for young people to pursue post-secondary education in science, the trades and all the other program areas that help support our future economy is extremely important.”
The inclusion of D-Pace on the Silver King Campus comes at a time when Selkirk College is taking a lead in applied research and innovation at the post-secondary level. Students and staff at the Castlegar-based Applied Research & Innovation Centre (ARIC) are currently working on an array of projects made possible through public and private partnerships. D-Pace has been supportive of Selkirk College’s recent initiatives and has helped grow the sector in the region.
“There is a tremendous amount of energy right now and this is another great example of what is possible,” says Dr. Terri MacDonald, Director of Applied Research & Innovation at Selkirk College. “D-Pace is a valued supporter and have helped grow interest in science and technology in our communities for many years. We continue to prove that rural British Columbia can make its presence felt on a larger scale by creating these amazing synergies that help both companies like D-Pace and the post-secondary learners who want to be part of the sector’s future.”
To find out more about D-Pace and what the company has been up to locally and internationally, visit its website.