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DRPS searching for new home for training centre

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

Durham College has given the region until the end of the year to find a new space for its training centre.

The Police Learning and Innovation Centre, currently located at the college’s Oshawa campus, is run by the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS).

The college and the region agreed to a five-year lease back in 2017.

But the college has now requested a termination of the lease two years ahead of schedule.

“I think they have some space pressures up at the college, and they’re just looking to find ways to accommodate their programs,” explains Jenni Demanuele, director of business services for the region.

In an e-mail to The Oshawa Express, the college states the reason for the request is due to growth.

“As a result of our positive growth over the past few years, we continue to deal with a space deficit for teaching, learning and social spaces for our students. As such, we must consider every opportunity to repurpose our facilities, much like we’ve recently done with a portion of our student residences,” reads the e-mail.

The college says they will be using the space for other purposes.

“DRPS occupies approximately 14,000 square feet that we considered in our strategy to repurpose space used for administrative and third-party purposes to increase our inventory of classroom, labs and student study areas once the space is vacated.“

The space has been occupied by Durham Police since August 1983, and in April 2017, the college and region agreed to the five-year lease extension.

The region pays the college $316,777 for use of the space.

However, the college is telling DRPS to be out by the end of 2019.

The desire to end the lease was expressed by Durham College in a June 2018 meeting with DRPS, and confirmed last December when the college sent a letter to the region.

In a report to council, staff noted they had offered to relocate the centre after the lease ended in January 2022, but the college wasn’t interested in completing the full length of the agreement.

“We’ve looked at a few properties, we’ve had some potentials, but we’re still searching for a replacement location,” says Demanuele.

Before beginning their search for the new location, DRPS requested staff look for a space up to 2,323 sq. Metres, with similar travel distance and times that of the current training centre.

Originally, staff were only looking in Oshawa, but after difficulty finding an appropriate location, they began to look in Whitby, and now, all of Durham Region.

Police services has allocated a provision of $8.3 million in the preliminary budget forecast to finance costs for interim space.

DRPS has budgeted $8.3 million to find an interim space.

Staff write the region will not be able to find new location by end of the year, but staff will continue the search for a new home for the police training centre.