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Trent expansion moves forward

By Joel Wittnebel/The Oshawa Express

Plans to more than double Trent Durham’s student population in Oshawa are coming much closer to reality after the university received board approval for a $27 million building expansion.

“I think we’re finally starting to hit our stride,” said Leo Groarke, Trent University president during a recent visit to council.

The new four storey building, which will front onto Thornton Road South, will include 200 student resident spaces and over 12,000 square feet of living and learning space.

“This new development will bring a new building, modern and attractive, that provides a presence and welcoming gateway,” says Joe Muldoon, the head of the Trent Durham campus.

Last June, the City of Oshawa gifted 1.8 acres of land adjacent to Trent’s current campus to pave the way for the expansion.

The building is the first of two that Trent has planned for the campus, with construction set to be rolled out in phases, though timing for the second phase still remains unclear.

“My own personal opinion is that will be quickly,” Groarke says.

The expansion plan has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years.

The original agreement for the campus was signed between the city and the university back in 2010, with a stipulation in place that Trent obtain a building permit for a new building before August 2015. That term was first extended in 2013, pushing the date to August 2017, and again council agreed to extend the date to 2019.

Now, Groarke says plans are in place to apply for a building permit in the near future, with construction planned to start late this year.

The goal is to grow the student population at Trent Durham from its current numbers of around 1,000 students to 2,200 by the fall of 2024.