New Residence And Academic Tower Projects Imminent

new rez

Plans for a new residence at St. Clair’s main/South Windsor campus are pushing ahead ... oh, and, at long last, the construction of the proposed Academic Tower has been approved too.

Those two projects were the subject of reports by the college’s administration to the school’s Board of Governors (BofG) during its October 22nd meeting.

The new, 512-bed residence will be constructed to the north of the existing dormitory building.

It will be constructed and, subsequently, managed on the college’s behalf by a private-sector partner: the Global Education Mihome (GEM) Corporation.

GEM is a recently established Canadian corporation, having been registered in September of 2018, based in Toronto.

Among its directors/investors are several individuals who also own and operate the Ace Acumen Academy. That is the Toronto-based private college with which St. Clair has had a “sister school” relationship for the past half-dozen years. (Ace Acumen provides English-language training to immigrants. Subsequently, they can enrol in a number of St. Clair programs – under the college’s auspices and academic supervision, using its curriculum, and leading to the award of St. Clair-authorized diplomas to graduates.)

The college has signed a 49-years-long lease with GEM to carry out the property management and development project.

GEM’s chief financier of the $20 million project is the Windsor Family Credit Union.

The construction methodology for this residence will involve another “corporate friend and partner” of the college, the Zekelman family. It owns Atlas Tube and other Canadian/American steel companies, and previously donated $5 million to St. Clair. That led to the naming of the college’s School of Business and Information and Technology in the family’s honour. It is also funding the construction of an indoor tennis complex at the school’s new Sports Park.

A subsidiary company of Zekelman Industries is named Z-Modular. It sees the Zekelmans in the construction business, using the modular assembly of block-ish units to create large structures. That building format may allow the new residence to be built in stages, as required by tenancy demands, with modular sections added from year to year.

The recent report to the BofG noted that “ongoing construction/design meetings with St. Clair College, GEM and Z-Modular have started in order to allow the college the opportunity to supervise and provide input into the facility details to ensure college standards are met.

“The college plans to apply the new college branding to the building, with a large steel college gryphon, including the structural steel required for its base.” (See artist’s conception accompanying this story.)

As this report was being tabled with the BofG, also, “Production of building units will commence at Z-Modular (Kitchener plant) in mid- to late-October. College representatives have been invited to the Z-Modular facility in November to see a sample room suite which is currently being constructed. This will create photo opportunities and subsequent marketing materials for the September 2020 intake” (when the first phase of the residence should be in place).

Due to all of the development that is currently and soon to be occurring at the college, the provincial Ministry of Transportation has demanded that yet another traffic study should be conducted. It will determine if anything should (and can) be done on nearby roadways to reduce vehicular flow congestion arising from the new facilities on campus. The study should be completed by November.

Also presented to the BofG during its meeting was the long-awaited letter from provincial Finance Minister Rod Phillips, approving the college’s plan to construct a new Academic Tower atop the existing Student Centre.

This project has been in the works for several years, but required approval under the Financial Administration Act to confirm that no provincial government funding would be required to bankroll it.

There won’t be provincial grant-funding required. The college will build the tower – chiefly housing Business and I.T. classes – with its own funds, student fees administered by the Student Representative Council/SRC (because part of the project will include an expansion of the Student Centre and housing for the SRC-managed Saints e-Gaming program), corporate donations, and a contribution made by the school’s Alumni Association.

The plans for this project have been in place for over a year, awaiting only the green-light from the provincial Finance Ministry.

Now that it has been given that thumb’s-up, the construction schedule will be set. Currently, the plan is to erect the structural steel of the new building sometime next spring – May of 2020 – when there won’t be quite so many students around who will be inconvenienced by that first building phase.

The operation of many of the Student Centre’s existing facilities – including the SRC offices and food services – may be severely disrupted for several months due to the construction project, so alternative (temporary) sites will have to be developed to accommodate them.

See, also, the Board of Governors meeting story about the mid-year budget status, at: http://stclair-src.org/news/node/631

See, also, the Board of Governors meeting story about the college’s handling of risk management issues, at: http://stclair-src.org/news/node/630