Lakehead, Georgian present plans for dynamic university presence in Central Ontario
June 17, 2014

Georgian University Partnership Centre is pleased to announce an exciting venture with Lakehead University. Lakehead and Georgian will collaborate to expand undergraduate degree capacity in Barrie, Orillia, Simcoe County and the greater Central Ontario region.

Young man stands outside University Partnership Centre, smiling

In partnership – and by leveraging existing capacity – Georgian and Lakehead University can expand degree delivery by combining the best of college and university to meet the evolving needs of our region and economy.

Together, the two institutions will respond to a call from the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU) to increase degree capacity in areas with growing demand for postsecondary education. Under this plan, by 2030 more than 50 degree programs will be delivered to as many as 6,000 students. Many offerings will be integrated diploma-degrees, allowing students to graduate in four years and enter the workforce sooner, better prepared for their chosen careers.

“This is postsecondary education for the twenty-first century,” says Georgian President and CEO Dr. MaryLynn West-Moynes. “Employers today are asking for more from our graduates – they need people to think and do and lead. Our vision combines the best of college and university education. We will ensure we have productive graduates who join the workforce ready to fully contribute and strengthen the economy.”

Georgian University Partnership Centre and Lakehead University have the capacity to add up to an additional 2,000 students without building new infrastructure – 1,200 students at Georgian’s Barrie Campus, many in the state-of-the-art Sadlon Centre for Health, Wellness and Sciences, and 800 at Lakehead University’s campus in Orillia.

“Our partnership builds on the strengths of each institution by leveraging available resources, infrastructure and advanced, high-tech facilities to ensure effective and efficient use of taxpayer dollars,” says Lakehead President & Vice-Chancellor Dr. Brian Stevenson. “It is realistic, achievable and responsible.”

Under the plan to be submitted to MTCU, when existing capacity is filled, the project would include the creation of two new buildings over the next three to 10 years. One thousand Design and Visual Arts students in degree and diploma programs would eventually be located in downtown Barrie, connecting them to the city’s vibrant business and cultural scene. The move downtown would also include an entrepreneurship hub and business incubator. Another building would be constructed on Georgian’s current Barrie Campus to accommodate up to 600 new engineering, technology, environmental and science degree students.

The plan was presented to the City of Barrie last night, and already has the support of the County of Simcoe.

“We know the new provincial government has a huge challenge ahead balancing the need for growth with fiscal realities,” says West-Moynes. “In the meantime, our region has fallen behind on needed undergraduate degree education. We believe our plan resolves that dilemma immediately. Given approval, we could start tomorrow.”