Holland College has purchased the Waterfront Mall in Summerside and will move programs from the Aerospace and Motive Power centres in Slemon Park to the new location, to be called the Holland College Summerside Waterfront Campus, college vice president Michael O'Grady announced today.
The project is a partnership between the college, the Government of Canada and the Government of Prince Edward Island. The Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, is investing $1 million to assist with renovations. The Government of Prince Edward Island, through the Department of Innovation and Advanced Learning, is also investing $1 million to the project.
"In addition to providing an environment that supports student learning and allows for the social interaction that is vital to post-secondary experiences, the Summerside Waterfront Campus will contribute significantly to the future prosperity of downtown Summerside," O'Grady said.
"Our Government understands the significant role post-secondary institutions, like Holland College, make to growing and sustaining our economy by equipping Canadians to participate in - and contribute to the Island's skilled workforce," said the Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Revenue Canada, on behalf of the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Minister of State for La Francophonie. "Our investment in the knowledge-based sector of our economy is an investment in the enhanced competitiveness of Prince Edward Island and the entire Atlantic region."
"Skilled trades like those being taught in Summerside have been identified as one of the most promising areas of economic growth on Prince Edward Island. The Government of Prince Edward Island is very happy to invest in training that will provide opportunities for Islanders while spurring new activity in downtown Summerside," said Premier Robert Ghiz.
The mall will be completely renovated, the front of the building will be refaced and the area will be landscaped to provide a campus atmosphere for the approximately 230 students that will attend college programs there. The property is adjacent to the college's Marine Training Centre, which serves approximately 1,000 students per year, and is home of the Commercial Diving and Power Engineering programs.
The Atlantic Police Academy will remain in the building it currently occupies in Slemon Park, and will expand into the vacated Aerospace Centre following the relocation of the programs in September of 2012.
Currently, more than 1,300 Holland College students receive training in Summerside and the surrounding area, 45 per cent from off-Island, not counting police officers taking in-service training at the Atlantic Police Academy or newcomers enrolled in language training. In total, these students spend almost $5.7 million in the area each year. When the economic activity of students from off-Island, spending by Island-based students, and the benefit from faculty and staff spending are combined, the total value of Holland College's presence in Summerside exceeds $11.5 million annually. O'Grady predicts that the establishment of the Summerside Waterfront Campus will give the area another economic boost.
The Summerside Waterfront Campus will consist of 157,000 square feet, including 37,000 square feet of commercial space, on 11.5 acres. Some of the current tenants will remain, including Sobey's and the PEILCC outlet. Additional space will be available for lease by the private sector.
"With so many students together in one area, there is a tremendous opportunity for private business to set up in the commercial space that will be available in the building to provide goods and services to the student population," O'Grady said.
Holland College President Brian McMillan, who is currently attending Holland College graduations in China, said the move will enhance the college experience for learners.
"The atmosphere at the new Summerside Waterfront Campus will be similar to that of other Holland College campuses," he stated. "Our research shows that learners are looking for an enriched, comprehensive post-secondary experience. This new campus will enable the college to provide the best training in a collegiate setting."
For more information about this release, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Date: Friday, June 17, 2011