By Joel WittnebeléThe Oshawa Express
The University of Ontario Institute of Technology is looking to grow in Oshawa and it is looking for the city’s help.
Speaking with the finance committee, delegates from the university laid out details of the post-secondary institution’s request for approximately $10 million over the next 10 years.
“That is not a solid thing that we require. We just need to start somewhere and be built into the capital planning process,” said Susan McGovern, UOIT’s vice-president of external relations and advancement.
According to data from the university, the institution spends $181 million in Durham Region both directly and indirectly. It also provides $3.6 million in aid to students through bursaries, grants and other programs.
At the top of the list for future needs at UOIT is more space, as the school currently has about half the average space per student that the province says it should have.
Currently, UOIT has two new building projects underway – the Software and Informatics Research Centre, set to be open for 2018 which the institution is putting $22 million toward, and the Centre for Advanced Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CARIE). For the latter building, UOIT is currently working with donors for support for the approximate $100 million building. The project has received $26.9 million in federal funding.
In the future, the school will also require approximately $980 million to fill out the 380 acres of Windfields Farm land.
However, for McGovern, any support from the city would be about more than just buildings.
“It’s all about students. It’s not about buildings, it’s about the space that students need,” she said.
McGovern says she hopes the two organizations can find “innovative ways” for supporting the institution’s future, but is aware of the challenges.
“We know the times are challenging, that is not lost on us,” she said. “Everybody wants a piece of something. We feel the same pressure as well.”
While any funding request will be considered during the upcoming budget discussions, Mayor John Henry highlighted the challenges for the municipality by providing funds and then also paying a portion of any support given by the Region of Durham.
Currently, UOIT has plans for a $25-million ask from the region.
“When you ask us for dollars, it’s out of the money we collect from the taxpayer,” Henry said. “We pay the city portion, then we pay the regional portion.”