By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
Infrastructure dollars will soon start to flow to Durham College in the form of a $22-million investment to replace one of its aging buildings.
The new Centre for Collaborative Education will be built using those funds, according to Reza Moridi, the province’s minister of training, colleges and universities.
“When Durham opened its doors in 1967, half a century ago, it was hard to imagine how much the college would grow over decades,” Moridi said during the funding announcement, noting the college started out with only a couple hundred students taking lectures in portables and other non-permanent structures. Now, Durham College has approximately 12,000 students, with numbers growing on an annual basis.
“We need to make sure that as you continue to grow, the facilities you offer to students, faculty and researchers reflect every advancement in design and technology that can create a better learning environment for our young people,” he added.
The new centre, which will replace the campus’ Simcoe Building constructed in 1969, will include a business incubator space, classrooms for the college’s health programs to support the new behavioural science and pharmacy program as well as space for the college’s Global Class initiative that connects students to other learners and professors from around the world.
Don Lovisa, the college’s president, labelled the announcement as “a piece of history for Durham College” and the culmination of efforts dating back to his beginning with the institution in 2007, when the process began to replace the aging Simcoe Building.
“It’s a historic building that has served us well, but is at the end of its life,” Lovisa said.
“It’s a wonderful time…to celebrate our 50th anniversary and our legacy for the future in building something amazing for the future for today’s and tomorrow’s learners.”
The building, which could take between 18 and 24 months to complete, is set to accommodate approximately 1,200 students in different programs on a daily basis.
Also on hand for the announcement were Oshawa Mayor John Henry and Durham MPP Granville Anderson, who noted that it was his hope the announcement was the first of many to come down the road.
Anderson said the new investment will benefit not just Durham College, but Oshawa as a whole.
“This is also going to enhance the college and all universities in the area to bring students here from all parts of Ontario so they can get the best quality education possible,” he said.
The multi-million dollar investment is part of the province’s push to repair aging infrastructure with more than $160 billion being invested over 12 years across Ontario.