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Centre for Collaborative Education officially open

Jason Atkins, the CEO of 360insights, was one of many who spoke to those attending the grand opening of the Centre for Collaborative Education at Durham College. (Photo by Chris Jones)

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham College officially stepped into the future with the unveiling of its Centre for Collaborative Education.

The CFCE, located at Durham’s main campus on Simcoe Street North, was a legacy project tied to the school’s 50th anniversary in 2017. It replaces the Simcoe Building, which had originally been built as a temporary structure in 1969, but remained a fixture at the campus for nearly five decades.

To commemorate the Simcoe Building, the entrance feature incorporates stone taken from the original building.

The centre is home to several signature learning spaces, such as the 360insights Entrepreneur Centre, as they were a large donor in support of the building.

Other rooms include the First Peoples Indigenous Centre and the Durham College Spa – which is open to the public.

According to Durham College president Don Lovisa, there is very little office space in the multi-level, 75,000 sq. ft. building.

Lovisa says that “instead, it holds industry-grade, cutting-edge labs, entrepreneurial and maker spaces, and touchdown spaces and inclusive learning environments all focused on ensuring the student experience comes first.”

The official public unveiling included a Indigenous ceremony performed by Troy White of the Mi’kmaq.

The event also included a ribbon cutting, and unveiling of a the donor wall, which contained the names of several donors who contributed to the CFCE.

A time capsule was also installed, and it is intended to be opened in 2067, Durham’s 100th anniversary.

Durham College launched the “Building Something Amazing” campaign last year in order to raise $5 million towards the $40 million budget for the CFCE. The federal government donated $13 million, while the provincial government gave $22 million for the remainder of the costs.

While speaking at the grand opening, 360insights CEO Troy Atkins, whose company regularly employs Durham College graduates, said, “When Don [Lovisa] came to us with this idea, we thought ‘wow we have to get involved,’ because, at the end of the day, education and entrepreneurship is what changes our town, it changes the region and it changes the world.”

Mayor John Henry praised said the centre helps put Durham College to another level.

For over 50 years Durham College has greatly contributed to the success of Oshawa, the Regional economy and beyond,” Henry says. “The City’s investment recognizes DC’s ongoing commitment to excellence and the many benefits the CFCE provides to both students and the community, including more collaborative learning and social spaces.”

The CFCE was awarded a City of Oshawa 2018 Urban Design Award for its “unique, bold and thought-provoking architecture.” The building incorporates a combination of glass, wood, stone and copper.