By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express
The construction of the Centre for Collaborative Education at Durham College is progressing smoothly, officials say, but that hasn’t stopped the questions flooding in about what exactly is happening on the small plot of land along Simcoe Street North.
Is it guard towers? A bridge? Questions have been flooding in to the college regarding the pair of cement pillars that have sprung up out front of the campus, but Alan Dunn, the institution’s associate VP of facilities and ancillary services, says the building may look a little odd right now, but it should start to take shape soon.
“It’s a little bit unusual looking because what you’re seeing are the two stair towers and elevator towers,” Dunn explains.
With steel now arriving for the project, part of the building’s frame on the north side has started to take shape, which may alleviate some of the odd glances.
“Once they start erecting the steel, it will start to take the shape of a recognizable building structure,” Dunn says.
The new facility, set for completion in April 2018, is 76,000 square feet and is marketed to become a hub for innovation on campus. The project has also received strong support from all levels of government.
Breaking ground in January, the project already had $35 million of support for the approximately $40-million building – $22 million of it coming from the province and $13 million from the feds. The college has been tasked with coming up with the remaining $5 million. To date, it received $250,000 from the school’s alumni association, $1 million from the City of Oshawa and, most recently, $100,000 from TD Canada Trust.
The new building will include a business incubator space, classrooms for the college’s health programs that will support the new behavioural science and pharmacy program, as well as space for the college’s Global Class initiative, which connects students to other learners and professors from around the world.
According to Dunn, the construction is progressing smoothly and on schedule, save for a few small hiccups. Due to the building’s proximity to Simcoe Street, the closeness to city services has caused some issues.
“We’re kind of squeezed in between the existing Simcoe Building and Simcoe Street and it’s kind of a weird pie-shaped piece of property,” Dunn says. “We’ve had a couple challenges there, obviously with the region and the city’s right of way, there’s a number of utilities in there we’ve had to contend with, but it’s all worked out very well.”
The existing Simcoe Building, the oldest on campus, will be demolished once construction on the new centre is completed.