By: Laura Steiner
The Province of Ontario has approved a post-secondary campus for the Town of Milton. The long-awaited announcement came Wednesday morning.
The campus was awarded to Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU). “We are thrilled by the news, and grateful for the Ontario government’s ongoing investment in post-secondary education,” WLU President and Vice-Chancellor Deborah MacLatchy said. Advanced Education, and Skills Development Minister announced Mitzie Hunter announced a $90 million in funding for the project. The money is part of a previously announced $180 million commitment for post-secondary education in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)
Laurier will partner with Conestoga College on a 50 acre campus, as part of a 400 acre complex to be known as the Milton Education Village (MEV). Conestoga College President John Tibbits emphasizes the need for such partnerships. “70% of our high-school population is going to post-secondary education. They all can’t go for just purely theoretical. We’ve got to find a way to blend theory with practice,” he said. Conestoga works with Laurier in their Brantford campus as well. The plan includes 100 acres of protected Greenbelt lands.
The campus will focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics). “Our government is focused on preparing people to take on new challenges in a changing economy, and access to postsecondary education is a key part of that. By delivering that access to the Halton Region, we’re building capacity for more people in the area to becoming highly skilled, educated workers,” Hunter said. Laurier is planning to open its first building in 2021-22. They hope to enrol their first students starting in September 2019 in leased space.
Milton Post-Secondary Campus 10 years in the Making
The Town of Milton has been working with Laurier for ten years on the idea of bringing a university campus to the municipality. Former Vice-Chancellor Dr. Max Blouw began working with the Town in 2008. He was there for the announcement. “We were patient and thinking of good things come from long planning. The level of partnership that’s represented here is just extraordinary. The relationship we have with the communities, with Conestoga College, and the Aboriginal communities. We’re really looking forward to this,” Blouw said.
Milton Mayor Gord Krantz considers it a milestone. “In a world of life-long learning, the Milton Education Village is a game-changer for our community, and we couldn’t have better partners than Wilfrid Laurier University and Conestoga College,” Krantz said. The Town of Milton started the planning process with an open workshop in February.
Halton MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris recognizes the campus as an important part of the community. “This is really about building that solid foundation for the future, and it gives our young people such a huge opportunity,” she said. The Liberal government has promised $3 billion in post-secondary funding over the next 10 years.
The Progressive Conservatives (PC)’s have not yet announced policy on post-secondary education. Milton candidate Parm Gill promises progress on a campus. “We will take action and get this done for Milton,” he said in an email statement. Election Day is June 7, 2018.
Watch the announcement below: