Student Housing: Student residence construction on track

By Denis Langlois for the Sun Times

Project officials say work is on track to finish three 20-unit residences for Georgian College students before classes begin for the 2011 fall semester.

“We’re probably ahead of schedule,” said Brian Freeman, vice-president of Campus Living Centres.

Construction of the two-storey, 290-square-metre buildings is well underway on a lot at the southwest corner of 16th Ave. E. — near the Owen Sound hospital — and the end of the proposed 10th St. E. extension.

Campus Living Centres, a subsidiary of London Investments Corp., was granted site plan approval from city council in September 2010. The company said it planned to finish construction within a year.

The proposed townhouses are to have a finished basement and two storeys above ground. The driveway would be off of 16th Ave. E.

Freeman said the company is in the process of securing tenants for the student units and a new website — — is expected to be up and running by week’s end to help facilitate the application process.

Donna Jansen, associate dean at Georgian College’s Owen Sound campus, said she is confident the units will be filled up quickly, as demand for a student residence in the city has been high.

“We are getting so many phone calls already,” she said. “We’re very optimistic about it.”

In September, Jansen said college officials expect a student residence will help boost application and registration numbers at the local campus.

Last autumn’s first-year enrollment rate at the Owen Sound campus was the highest on record, due in part to the completion of an $8.5 million state-of- the-art marine research and simulation centre.

The Owen Sound campus welcomed 420 first-year, full-time students to the college in September, which is 18% more than the 2009 enrollment.

More than 600 students are currently enrolled in full-time studies at the city campus.

Jansen said the college and its partners, including Campus Living Centres, are already discussing adding more accommodations for students in Owen Sound.

Freeman said if the demand is there, his company would consider acquiring more land to build added student units.

“We would certainly entertain the idea,” he said.

Campus Living Centres has developed similar accommodations for students at the University of Guelph, University of Western Ontario, the University of Waterloo and about 15 other post-secondary institutions.

Three years ago former Georgian College dean Jay Notay told the city’s economic development committee that the only way to continue to significantly grow enrollment at the Owen Sound campus is to build a residence.

City officials vowed to help the college to entice developers to build a private residence in the city.

Since then, other developers have come forward with plans to create housing for students in Owen Sound. Bob Van Dolder presented council with a plan last year to convert the upper floor of Van Dolder’s Kitchen & Bath on 16th St. E. into a student residence for 28 students.


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