Friday marks the one-year countdown to the opening of the Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence.

In 365 days, the $77-million, 180,000-square-foot building — which will house 600 additional construction seats and provide space for thousands more studying in related programs — opens its doors for its first students.

“The Algonquin Centre for Construction Excellence will serve a myriad of purposes,” said Claude Brulé, executive dean of the Faculty of Technology and Trades. “It will primarily help to address a looming shortage of skilled trade workers and prepare our students for the construction trades of the future.”

The Construction Sector Council estimates that 17,600 new workers will be required by 2016 to fill positions related to new construction.

By 2020, 52 per cent of existing trades workers are expected to retire.

The college has 223 different programs related to the construction industry, which are currently spread between different buildings, said Brulé.

“Our goal is to create a learning environment where all of these occupations could interact with each other, like a normal workplace.”

The new facility will connect the relocated bus station to the main campus via a $4-million pedestrian bridge.