The Alberta government confirmed pre-construction work on MacEwan University’s School of Business has finished and is on track to break ground in early 2024. “It’s always exciting to watch major projects like the MacEwan School of Business move forward,” said Alberta Premier Danielle Smith at a Monday press conference. “And while there is still a lot to do on the ground, I want to congratulate MacEwan for their ongoing work to move from planning and design to construction and eventual opening.” For people who do not know, Smith said MacEwan has been present in downtown Edmonton since it opened its first campus in 1971. It grew to include several other facilities in Edmonton. Once the downtown Edmonton campus expanded in the 1990s, MacEwan’s leadership decided to make it its home. She said its students, faculty and staff “interact with the public to create a lively social and cultural ecosystem in the north side of downtown.” The premier went on to say it delivers creative, innovative, high-demand programming crucial to developing skills and talent in Alberta’s workforce, which are integral to its economic future. With enrollment at an all-time high of 19,000 students and a vision to grow to 30,000 by 2030, this expansion comes at a perfect time. The Alberta government spent $125 million over four years on the MacEwan School of Business earlier this year. Revitalizing downtown Edmonton remains a priority for it, and it has spent money on safety and security, growing shelter spaces, and supporting the Edmonton Police Service (EPS). She acknowledged it is important to spend money on projects that bring people, vitality and energy to downtown Edmonton. She added this project sends a message Alberta is the best place to study, create and do business.Through the Alberta government’s partnership with MacEwan and other post-secondary institutions, Smith said it will continue to build a strong future for Albertans. She said she looks forward to seeing the ongoing progress at it and how it helps to reinvigorate downtown. Alberta Advanced Education Minister Rajan Sawhney said MacEwan has played a major role in downtown Edmonton in the last 50 years. “MacEwan is not just a significant economic driver in Edmonton,” said Sawhney. “It’s a powerful symbol of the vitality and importance of our post-secondary education system for the whole province.” She said the Alberta government “wants to see our economy grow, diversify and fulfill its amazing potential for the benefit of all Albertans.” That is why it is committed to spending money in post-secondary programs and spaces. MacEwan Board of Governors Chair Carolyn Graham said it has a unique position in downtown Edmonton in bringing business and academia together. “As Alberta’s premiere undergraduate university, we are laser focused on teaching greatness,” said Graham. “We are committed to creating the opportunities and conditions necessary for our province’s young professionals, leaders, innovators and visionaries to succeed.” At MacEwan, Graham said faculty focus on being great educators to ensure students can be great community leaders. Growing the number of students it educates is critical to serving Edmonton.Smith followed up by saying there are a number of different aspects to ensure Edmonton has a vibrant downtown. “Rogers Place and the Ice District especially as well, since they’re contemplating a second phase of the Ice District,” she said. “Having this many young people downtown hopefully also living downtown and staying downtown before and after classes will be able to help give vibrance to the community.” With EPS, she said the Alberta government is working with it to address social disorder. It is working to find a new home for Boyle Street Plaza. The City of Edmonton and Mayor Amarjeet Sohi said in May they have a plan to fix social disorder downtown. READ MORE: Mayor of Edmonton says downtown is 'where everyone can gather, celebrate, share ideas'Sohi encouraged people to meet each other downtown in a new campaign to make a good first impression on visitors to Edmonton. Social disorder continues downtown, but Sohi said this campaign would make it go away.