Durham to See $230 Million in Post-Secondary Infrastructure Investment

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Durham Region’s three anchor post-secondary institutions have plans to invest close to $230 million in educational and research facilities aimed at community collaboration in the near future.

Durham College

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The $40-million Centre for Collaborative Education will serve as an “access point” for students and applied research, bringing together local, Indigenous and global community groups and members of key business sectors, says college president Don Lovisa.

“Our expanded space and services, will enable us to inspire and create more entrepreneurs and help to expand new business ideas, innovation and jobs.”

CFCE, a legacy project for the college’s 50th anniversary this year, is funded by a $22-million contribution from the province, $13-million from the federal government, $1 million from Durham Region and $1 million from the City of Oshawa. It’s expected to be completed in 2018.

“Without the financial support, Durham College couldn’t achieve its goal of creating a new facility where students, employees and the broader community can come together in ways that transcend the traditional concepts of education or expand into new program areas that offer experiential learning opportunities designed to match the labour needs of industry,” said Lovisa.

The 75,000 square feet CFCE will include labs and classrooms for the college’s health and science programs, and entrepreneurial spaces, including the business incubation hub Spark Centre. It will also contain facilities for the college’s Global Class initiative that connects students to higher-education institutions around the world.

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Construction is underway on the Software and Informatics Research Centre (SIRC) at the university’s growing north Oshawa campus location. The 129,000 square feet facility will cluster the university’s expertise in health and business analytics, IT security, networking, gaming, and software engineering.

It will house specialized labs in mechatronics/robotics and electronics, a makerspace lab featuring 3D printers, and soldering and electronics stations. The $33.5-million project will be funded by a $11.8-million federal contribution, $1.2 million from the province and the university’s capital reserves.

UOIT has also received $26.9 million in federal funding towards the realization of the $100-million Centre for Advanced Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE), a regional commercialization, innovation and convergence hub.

“SIRC and CARIE will amplify UOIT’s existing strengths in digital and information sciences, along with advanced manufacturing. We see each facility becoming places where researchers and students will interact with industry and community partners to solve real-world problems,” said Susan McGovern, vice-president, external relations and advancement.

The 129,000 square feet (12,000 square metre) facility is planned around modular wet labs and a suite of fabrication and technology support resources.

“UOIT plays a big role in Durham’s growth and prosperity. Our region is becoming one of Ontario’s key innovation hubs, and we’re proud to be part of that,” said McGovern.

Trent University Durham–GTA

Trent University has its sights on expanding its Durham campus, with preliminary plans calling for more than 1,500 students, along with a $38-million academics building and an $18-million student residence.

“Trent University Durham–GTA has experienced significant growth at its Oshawa campus. It has always been the plan to develop our Durham-GTA campus, with an aim to expand our academic space and integrate a residence facility. A mixed-use residence and academic building will create a living-learning model that fosters a supportive community for continued student success,” said Joe Muldoon, head of Trent University Durham–GTA.

Trent views its Durham campus as complementary but independent of its Peterborough site, says Trent president Leo Groarke.

“We see our Durham campus as our connection to the Toronto region. It offers students a unique opportunity to be part of a close-knit community where students have unparalleled access to their professors. We are growing our Durham presence in a way that maintains this ideal, at the same time that it makes a unique set of programs available to students.”

Trent Durham offerings are centred in humanities and social sciences. New programs include a six-year arts and law dual degree with Swansea University in the U.K, communications and critical thinking, and child and youth studies, along with agreements with some Toronto colleges to allow seamless transfer to Trent Durham.