Thursday, June 3, 2010

Fanshawe College’s Woodstock Campus expansion hits funding setback

(Woodstock, Ontario) A major expansion project at Fanshawe College’s Campus in Woodstock has been denied funding through the Government of Canada’s Community Adjustment Fund (CAF).

Fanshawe applied for $11 million in CAF funding to help offset the costs of a proposed $14 million campus expansion to accommodate increasing demand in Woodstock and area.

“This is a huge disappointment for Fanshawe and for our partners in Oxford County,” said Fanshawe President Howard Rundle. “We are committed to providing training opportunities for students in this region, but we cannot do that as effectively as we want to without significant expansion to our Woodstock Campus. The demand is there. We need the support.”

The CAF was created as part of the federal government’s economic stimulus plan. It has earmarked $1 billion to support projects that create jobs and maintain employment in communities that have experienced significant job losses due to the global recession and lack of alternative employment opportunities. It is administered locally by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. In 2010/2011, the CAF is providing $127.8 million for renovations in southern Ontario selected through an intake process.

Fanshawe, established in Woodstock in 1967, has identified campus expansion there as a key priority in its capital planning. The campus is running at full capacity, with enrolment at 300 full-time and 3,300 part-time students in recent years. Initial construction plans call for a first phase expansion of 65,000 square feet, with a second phase addition of 26,000 square feet, comprising new labs, classrooms, flexible teaching facilities, and workshops.

Fanshawe College and the City of Woodstock have each pledged $1 million in funding for the project; in addition, the City has contributed $1.25 million in property and facilities.

“Attracting investment to the region is dependent upon a highly skilled workforce,” said Woodstock Mayor Michael Harding. “Fanshawe is an important partner. We support the College’s efforts to grow, to offer more programs, and to help us continue to build an educated workforce in Oxford. Our commitment remains unchanged.”

President Rundle said that while the funding denial is a setback, Fanshawe will continue to investigate other ways to fund the project.

“Community colleges are more important than ever as Ontario moves toward a knowledge-based economy,” President Rundle said. “We know that tomorrow’s jobs will require technical skills and specific training, and we are still working with our partners to make that training available in Oxford County. We are optimistic that the project will eventually go ahead as planned.”

For more information, please contact:

Donna Derer

Chair, Woodstock Campus

Fanshawe College

519.421.0144 ext. 222

Ben Sage, Sales Representative. Re/Max a-b Realty Ltd., Brokerage. 519-536-7535. 521 Dundas St., Woodstock, ON

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